Dear Farmhouse, THIS is your future!

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The first of the permanent renovations is finished! And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m working from the top to bottom, back to front so the first room that got the permanent renovation was the back guest bedroom, henceforth known as the Water Room.

The Plan

Before we go too far, I want to address the elephant in the room. Yes, those are vinyl replacement windows. Gasp! I can hear the restoration folks aghast in horror! Hear me out. First, the windows in the 1893 portion and the windows in the 1907 portion (where this bedroom is) did not match. None of them had the original storm windows. Trying to find original wood windows at an architectural salvage place – if I could even find them –  would have broken the budget. Second, I never said that this was a restoration. If you revisit the About page, you’ll see that I coined the term renstoration to indicate that the house is being renovated with an eye and reverence to the period aesthetic. Finally, I believe that the builders would have always used the most efficient and most current materials available to them. The vinyl replacement windows meet all three of those criteria – value, aesthetic, and efficiency. Perhaps, in the future, I’ll be able to afford wood reproduction windows. Moving on…..

I started by settling on a theme. I used some prints I had stored away of Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ plus a print I had reframed of Cezanne’s ‘The Bathers.’ Obviously, the theme for the room is water. I also already had the duvet set and that provided my color base. Here was the color scheme:

Color Scheme

The ceilings had that terrible 80s trend of popcorn. I scraped all that off and repainted the ceiling in a bright white. I found, during that process, that at some point in the past (probably during the misguided mid-80s renovation), the three exterior plaster walls were replaced with drywall but the walls did not meet the ceiling. Whoever did the renovation decided to cover the rather large gap with a cheap wood crown molding. I had planned to remove the crown but since the gap was so large, I just replaced the crown with a selection that replicated a plaster molding.

Then there were the floors. All of the floors, while in good condition, were painted a dark brown. When I started this project, I tried sanding them and stripping them. In both cases, the paint was so ingrained, that it did not come off. I resigned myself to leaving the painted floor until I could afford to install new floors throughout. Then, in the eleventh hour as the boyfriend and I were planing down the door, we tried the power planer on the floor….

Planed Floor

Seven hours of planing, another seven hours of edge striping and sanding with 40 grit, and three coats of sealer resulted in this:

A lot of time and $65 for the sealer and the results are AMAZING!

This room is the smallest in the house (besides the bathrooms) and it had a closet that was obviously an afterthought. The closet was 12 inches deep meaning that hanging clothes in it was extremely limited. So, I decided to turn the closet into a built-in dresser. This was my inspiration:

In an effort to be cost effective, I used four Rast dressers from IKEA and applied trim to them. Then I painted the whole thing out white. Here’s the progress of the built-in:

Built In Progress 1           Built In Progress 2

And, here’s the finished product:

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And, finally, I addressed some of the details. The door hinges had obviously been painted over more times that I could even imagine. I stripped them and refinished them in a matte black. The details of the Victorian hinge really pop now.

And, because the original window and door casings had been cut in half because of limited space and completely removed on the first floor, I took the opportunity to change the window and door casings to a simple one-by design.

New window trim

The Budget

I had originally budgeted about $3,500 to complete this room. The biggest expense was the windows which were just over $1,100. Next was the cost to reupholster the chair and ottoman and the cost to remove the construction debris (my township won’t collect construction debris).

The actual final cost ended up at $4,267. The increases resulted from a few factors:

  • the blinds I originally selected were discontinued so I had to choose a new blind; the new blind was more expensive
  • I originally planned on using just two dressers in the built-in but once I started building it, found it was too low and added two additional dressers
  • added floor finish
  • overspent on accessories (but it’s all so pretty 🙂)

The breakdown is as follows:

Woodwork (including dressers)………….$566

Windows…………………………………………….$1,155

Drywall……………………………………………………$91

Paint & Floor Finish……………………………..$119

Linens……………………………………………………$152

Furnishings (including reupholstery)…$873

Art & Accessories………………………………….$547

Electrical & Fixtures…………………………….$207

Miscellaneous Expenses (eg. trash)…….$557

Before and After Photos

I am overjoyed with how well this room turned out. It’s pretty much how I envisioned it since I developed the plan in my head. It’s definitely the prettiest room in the house now. I can’t wait to move on to the next renovation….