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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Coming up Next at SBH


Ladies and gentlemen SBH is about to embark on something that we have never done before. Something that has the potential to launch this gig from hobby status to a real legit business. Something that could change the direction and pace of our lives as we know it.

We are about to attempt... TWO PROJECTS AT THE SAME TIME!!! 


What?!?! you say. I KNOW! Crazy huh! It's like I'm a real contractor or something. But just think... If I can pull this off then I could potentially do a flip (my true love) and a contract project (aka a project that actually provides a paycheck) at the same time thus keeping me and my creative side happy and Rory and his profit/loss spreadsheet happy. I realize that this feat is nothing to real builders who can crank out entire subdivisions in their sleep, but I have been extremely nervous to try more than one project at a time because I know how much time and energy goes into ONE SBH. When I multiply that amount by two it does not fit within the 24 hour/day allotment of time much less leave room for family, friends, food and/or freaking sleep. (Sorry for the expletive, I was going for a literary alliteration there with the "fs".) BUT I am still riding the high of my successful contract project on Oliver and 1 of the 2 projects will be our own home on Carl Stuart so I'm thinking now is the perfect time to give it a try.

And do I ever have the perfect client/contract project to work on! This young man approached me last April when I first put the word out I was looking for a pre-reno buyer at Oliver. Unfortunately, he was about a week too late to get in on that project, but about a month later he contacted me about a house he found on Davis. He asked me to look at the house with him to see if I thought it had storybook potential. At that time I was in the early stages of working with my very first clients (at Oliver) and still unsure if contract work was for me so I was hesitant to even go look at the property but my love of old houses and curiosity to peek inside this particular one got the best of me and I agreed to a walkthrough. Well, I should have known better.... it's impossible for me to go inside an old abandoned home and not start daydreaming about what I could do to help give it a fresh new story, and this one had enough quirkiness to send the imagination in overdrive. But despite my infatuation with the house and it's potential I was nervous to take on another client project and was prepared to give him a recommendation for another reputable contractor when he said the following words that I am apparently powerless to say no to: 

"I wouldn't want to see the project until it's finished- I want you to surprise me." (the yellow highlight represents rays from heaven shining down on that statement) 

Ummmm, Seriously- all the control, a dramatic reveal, AND a guaranteed paycheck..... I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. I agreed to take on the project with the understanding I would not be able to start his project until I finished Oliver. We finished Oliver on Friday, Aug 24 and started demo at Davis the following Monday.

Although he wants to be surprised and has given me free rein on all the design decisions, he did share with me his love for the French Quarter of New Orleans and requested the design reflect that style. Now, normally a request for a specific style would stress me out because I like to let the house dictate the style BUT I'm super pumped about trying a new genre and after spending time with Davis it turns out he (the house) speaks fluent Cajun! Plus! I have always wanted to go to NOLA and I'm thinking this project will be the perfect excuse for a field trip.

Although demolition is already done, I did remember to take some before pics before we knocked down any walls. So here is a little lagniappe for your blog reading pleasure. Let's geaux... (oh my goodness, this is going to be fun)

Here he is: 705 Davis

Recognize him? He sits proudly across the street from First Baptist on Davis Street and has been there since 1937. For an 81-year-old he has held up pretty good. He currently occupies 1624 sq feet of livable space which does not include the obvious add-on to the right of the property or the creepy attic space bonus area.


I did not get a picture of the creepy attic space so you'll just have to trust me on that one.

Part of our renovation plans for this house involve demolishing the current lean-to structure and rebuilding an addition more in keeping with the original style of the home... kinda like this:



Before we move this tour inside I've got to show you the back/side yard:


That space right there is going to be home to the coolest New Orlean's style courtyard. I'm dying to tell you more but I think I'll keep it a surprise for now.

Let's go on inside, shall we.



Inside the front door, space is plentiful but a little awkward. There are only 2 bedrooms but 3-4  living rooms.

Here is a picture of the floorplan I sketched out to help you navigate this tour.



You enter thru the front door into room 1:


This front door location was one of the biggest obstacles to figuring out the new layout. Currently, it opens into one of those 4 living spaces I told you about. I wanted to create a defined entryway but struggled to figure out what to do with the space the entryway would create to the left of the door. Don't worry, we figured it out, but not without several sleepless nights. 

Room 2, (pic taken from room 3) takes you to another living area. This one is small and narrow but has the most character thanks to a cute fireplace and built-in. It is also where you enter the home from the carport. 


Room 3 Is living area 3 (pic taken from area #2). 


#4 could also be considered a living area but most likely was used as a dining room because of it's proximity to the old kitchen.




I'm going to go ahead and give you that map again so you don't have to keep scrolling back up before we continue on our "before" tour.



Since we are in the dining room (#4) let's go ahead and go thru the door to the kitchen (#6):




It was a galley style kitchen and I absolutely adored those cabinets. Unfortunately, we lost the cabinets during demo because they stubbornly refused to come off the wall in one piece. This homeowner desires an open layout so we will be relocating the kitchen to the old dining room (#4) during the renovation but have some really fun plans for the old kitchen.

#5 & #7 represent the 2 bedrooms of the house:





#8 is the main bathroom of the house:



#11 is the hallway that led to the bedrooms and bathroom (#8) and housed the stairs that led to the creepy pictureless attic bonus space.


I'm thinking #9 was a laundry area and also housed the hot water tank.


And finally, we will end our tour with #10 the bathroom lean-to addition.



And now that you have a better understanding of the old layout forget everything you just saw because pretty much the entire house is getting rearranged during the renovation. Numbers 1-4 will be opened up. Number 6 will be moved to number 4, Number 6 will become number 9. Numbers 5, 7 and 8 will be combined to become an awesome master suite. Number 9 will become a guest bathroom for two new bedrooms that will be added where number 10 used to be.  It's going to be fun!











Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Oliver- B&A


It's Before and After Time for Oliver!!!
Ummm.... Is it fair for me to classify this post as a before and after? I mean, if you remember, this was the house we ended up demolishing due to ZERO footings. BUT! In my defense, because we did not realize the home was sitting on sinking dirt until the week before we were due to start reconstruction we already had the floorplan mapped out to fit inside the original footprint. The future homeowners had approved the new layout and did not desire to make any changes so we essentially built back the original structure with an added carport. Therefore, because we honored the original house I feel justified in claiming these are before and after pics. Soooo now that I cleared that up, let's get going with the pictures already.

Here is a shot of the house in the before stage: (remember Oliver was a duplex in its former life)


And here he is now!


Isn't he cute! My biggest fear about tackling a new construction project in old town Conway was that the end product would not have the charm of an old home. But I think by adding the wood trim around the windows and doors and topping the brick columns with the precast concrete of old this house could pass for historic. In fact, Mr. Homeowner paid me the biggest compliment when he shared that someone who had visited his new home thought the house was a remodeled 80-year-old and was shocked to find out it was new construction. 



Speaking of homeowners. If you remember, this was my very first project working side by side with clients and I was just a little (ok a lot) anxious about giving up 100% control. This fear was further escalated when I realized having homeowners on board meant their preferences would (of course) be driving the design ship instead of the Ken and Barbie story floating in my head. Without a story I couldn't envision the end product, therefore I felt a little lost at first. But then, guess what? As I got to know the homeowners and their likes and dislikes they BECAME the story and I could totally see them and all their furnishings and treasurers living in the space. That, and I kept picturing the homeowners living in Nantucket. Not exactly sure why.... I have never been to Nantucket nor do I have any idea if "Nantucket" is or has a particular style, BUT if ever I was unsure of what direction to take in this project I just pointed North East and suggested finishes I thought would be found in a coastal Nantucket home.  

I truly could not have asked for a better couple to work with. They were gracious and understanding when things did not go as planned, and timely and decisive when it was time to make a design decision. They were very supportive and respectful of my ideas and yet were not afraid to speak up if something did not fit their taste or if they had an idea of their own. I found that I really enjoyed having someone to bounce ideas around with and was surprised at the relief I felt from not being responsible for all the design choices. I would simply present 3 or 4 (or 30 when it came to paint colors) options and they would make the final call.  In the end, we created a home I think we were all proud of.  (Here at SBH it is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition.)

They moved in about a month ago but graciously welcomed me back so I could take you on a tour of their home. Let's go inside.....


Remember how dark, dingy and closed off the duplex entrance felt... (Seriously, what's with the footprints on the ceiling?!?!)


Well now you walk right into their open living/dining kitchen area:


Can you believe they already have pictures hung?? No lie, we lived at Sister AT LEAST 4 years before I hung anything on the wall. 


I usually like to save the kitchen for last on our tours but since it is peeking out behind the couch, I'll go ahead and take you in there. 


Another fabulous job by Jeff Perry the cabinet guy. I think that is my new favorite vent hood- very Nantuckety. And shout out to my new friend Brent Rhodes of MBR Woodworks for the BEAUTIFUL oak island top. Mrs Homeowner says it is her favorite part of the entire home. Check out Brent's portfolio of projects on his FB page: MBRwoodworks. So excited to have found Brent, I think he is just the guy I need to implement a few ideas I have had floating around in my head.... stay tuned. 

While I have you here, take a look at that antique door. I'm going to totally pat myself on the back for that one. It was not always such a glorious shade of antique wood. No, that wood only emerged after a gazillion hours of stripping and sanding layers and layers of paint by yours truly. 




Did I mention I did this in the hot July sun. Take a good look because this will be the last antique door I EVER strip. Alright, I'm done. I'm leaving my pity party... on with the tour. 

One of my favorite spots in the home is the little sitting nook to the left of the island.




Even while Ken and Barbie were still living in this story I had pictured ticking stripe chairs flanking that front window. I mentioned this to Mrs. Homeowner at our first meeting and the very next week she ordered this fabric to recover the chairs above. Love, love, love how they turned out and I think they fit even better inside this Nantucket story. 

Before we leave the kitchen let me remind you of the before kitchens:

Unit 1

Unit 2


Before we head down the hall let me give you a close-up of the dining area:


Waterhouse Market took the homeowners existing antique dining set and gave it a makeover for its Nantucket debut.  


I looked high and low for the perfect chandelier that would harmonize with the kitchen lighting without being too matchy matchy. Found this one at Conway's very own Hambuchen Lighting.  Ya'll that place is a treasure. Such unique lighting and surprisingly affordable. 


First door to the left down the long hall is the laundry room/pantry.



Not sure that the duplex had a designated laundry area so no before picture for that one. 

Next, let's look at the guest bath. Here's a before to set the mood:


And here it is now:


Couldn't break the tradition of my Dad joining in on our project- he built the vanity top for this bathroom.


And remember that old clawfoot tub in the duplex? It too got a makeover. 


Flanking that guest bathroom is two guest bedrooms.



And finally, we enter the master suite where we are greeted by the adorable Temple (Shirly Temple that is).



Through that Navy Blue pocket door you will find the master bathroom:


I had a hard time getting a good picture that captured the layout of the bathroom. So I'll just tell ya the shower is to the right of the vanity and the potty is hidden behind a wall across from the shower. 


If linen-like tile and a chair rail of subway tile do not scream Nantucket I don't know what does.


Because I forgot to get shots of the backyard and porch it looks like this is where the tour will end.


Thank you to all the subcontractors who helped this project come together. And thanks so much to Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner for entrusting Storybook Homes with your home.