Old House Restoration

A real family makes an old house their home...for the 2nd time
The Splendido's renovate, restore and rejuvenate their home with their own hands - all while living in the house
and balancing their family needs...you know...like most families have to do it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Flashback - Dining Room Coat Closet Converted to Built-In China Cabinet

It was July 2005 and Karen, Paige and I moved into our first house, a fantastic old home built in 1920. We loved that house. Our family has been lucky to have found and lived in two homes we absolutely enjoy(ed) living in each and every day. However - just because we loved these homes from day one, does not mean they did not need a lot of work.

Up until now I have only showed the work I have done on this current home on St Davids Lane. However, I honed my skills on Ray Street - only one mile from this new home. The first room we tackled in that house was the dining room.

Oh! That wallpaper!

Day 1 - The day we moved in
Green/gold/white medallion wallpaper that was in the dining room. 

It is safe to say we couldn't wait to get to work on this room because by Day 4 this is what I came home to after work (see above picture). Karen (and 2 year old Paige) peeled all the wallpaper off - revealing a pea green wall. Karen tells me this wallpaper peeled off like Christmas wrapping paper. I understand if those of you that have spilled your blood, sweat and tears getting wallpaper off hate to hear this...but take some solace in knowing not all the wallpaper in this house came off this easily...and every wall in every room had wallpaper on it when we moved in. Every.Wall. And by the time we moved out 8 years later there was no wallpaper remaining.

How to ruin a perfectly good window seat

The window seat - It is one of the reasons we loved the house. Don't get me wrong - we hated the window seat in its current state because it was SO UGLY - but we knew what it could be. The owners before us, used the window as an indoor greenhouse. They has grow lights along the ceiling and green indoor/outdoor carpeting covering the seated area. Such a waste of a potentially beautiful focal point of the room.

If you look carefully in above picture you can see the green I/O Carpet on the window seat.
How Silly!
I removed the grow lights and the carpeting. Under the carpeting the woodwork was painted white. I used paint remover and stripped the seat down to bare wood. Then I stained the wood and protected it with a polyurethane.

Repair the walls and paint a bold color

In the above pictures you can also see the wall patches that I made to the plaster walls. It was not as easy as it looks. The walls are old plaster. The plaster had become loose from the lathe. If you leaned against the walls the walls appeared to breathe. I used Plaster Washers (they are a real thing) to pull the plaster back and secure the walls to the lathe. Then covered the washers with spackle...As I did more rooms in the house I started to realize why there was so much wallpaper...it was holding the plaster  walls in place! I should have bought stock in those Plaster Washers!
Karen and I knew we wanted a bold color. There are so many shades of terracotta red...however when we found one named Warm Sienna (Benjamin Moore) we new we found our color. See...Karen's sister and our brother-in-law met at Sienna College. Long story short they moved to Albany in 2004. Karen and I followed them upstate in 2005. The color was meant to be.

We LOVED this color  ..................................for about 5 years...except we lived their 8! We spent our last 3 years saying how we wanted to change it, but I refused to until I finished the first pass through the other rooms.

Changed the ceiling fan/light

I like ceiling fans. Karen does not....you know where this s going right!?

Karen and I found this light online....after months (yes months) of searching. We liked everything about this light - the way the arms curved, the two tiers of lights and the brown/bronze finish - so much so This light is still in our dining room today. We bought another similar light and replaced it before we put our house on the market.

 Built In China Cabinet

Converting a Coat Closet into a Built-In China CabinetIn the above pictures you can see a coat closet on the right side of the window seat. It was not a very functional closet. It was small and a triangle shape inside...not rectangular. So Karen and I decided to it would make a great built in china cabinet.

Step 1: Find a French Door

Converting a Coat Closet into a Built-In China CabinetWe found an unpainted french door at the Bargain Outlet that was the correct size. I painted it the same color as the rest of the trim work in the room - Benjamin Moore Woodmont Cream in satin finish.

Step 2: Paint the Back of the Wall
I chose to paint the back walls of the closet - oops I mean cabinet - the same color as the walls of the dining room for some pop.

Step 3: Build the Shelves
Converting a Coat Closet into a Built-In China CabinetI used my Laser Level to line up the shelves with the cross bars on the French Doors to make sure I did not have the edge of a shelf lining up in the middle of a window pane. I marked the laser lines on the back wall and placed some shelve supports (wood strips) along these lines. I painted the shelf supports the same color as the walls. I then built the shelves to fit and painted them the trim color.

Step 4: Back Lighting
I got a little lucky on this steo because there was already electricity inside the closet...including a wall outlet! You never know what you will find in a old home!

I used A section of Rope Lighting that I tacked around the backside of the door frame. Cheap, invisible from the front and the perfect brightness. The rope lighting even had an on/off toggle switch. Simple and easy. I always made sure the lighting was on when we had visitors or on holidays.

Converting a Coat Closet into a Built-In China Cabinet

Step 5: Fill those Shelves
Decorate the shelves with that China you haven't seen since you registered for it!

Converting a Coat Closet into a Built-In China Cabinet
The built in china cabinet was a great addition to our dining room. It added another area of interest in the room and broke up the wall of doors that was on that end of the room. It also gave us a way to see the Lenox Faith china we so painstakingly selected during our engagement...oh the horror! j/k Karen ;-)

Of course now that we moved...it has been about 1.5 years since we've last seen them! At least this time we purchased a hutch to display them in...BUT of course there is no room in the hutch for the china...BECAUSE first the kitchen cabinets have to be refaced/refinished...THEN we can take the kitchen stuff out of the hutch...so then there will be room in the hutch for the china...oh how my world turns. Add that to Karen's ever growing reasons why I need to get back to work on the kitchen I started this past winter!

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