Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Boston Home Renovation: The Whole Shebang

After Brian graduated from dental school at UCLA, we prepared to make the cross-country move to Boston for him to complete an orthodontics residency at Harvard.  After spending the last four years in student housing and having a growing family (not to mention the pretty-close-to-a-mortgage-payment rent prices in Boston, a very handy husband, and a general contractor father-in-law,) we decided to go house hunting, and we bought this gem of a property with the intention of renovating it and selling at the completion of his residency.  To say this project required our blood, sweat, and tears is not a cliche at this point-- it is the honest to goodness truth.  But I've hardly been prouder and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.  In three short years this little abode became the hub of our lives and engrained itself in our family's fabric.  When the time came to sell, I felt like we should be taking applications with a serious and thorough screening process, rather than mass-marketing and talking pricing strategies.  She will always hold a piece of my heart as a part of our story, and I am so proud to show off her amazing transformation!



New siding, new porch/railings, new fence, new front door and paint, new windows, widened and resurfaced driveway, sod and landscaping.  And did I mention completely DE-LEADED inside and out?!?  That was huge.

(And then there's always this "after," too.  After the blizzard hit! Oh, Boston.  I never thought I'd say this, but I miss this part, too.)



Goodbye flamingo pink!  New paint, new curtains and sheers, large mirror removed, new fireplace tile, and NO MORE RADIATORS!  Hooray for central heat and air!!  And deleaded.



Chair rail and lower wainscoting, plus the other updates of windows, curtains, paint, deleading, and radiator removal.


Not only out-dated, this kitchen was lacking an oven and refrigerator.  Hmmmmm. 

Pretty much a total do-over!  We even moved the two entrances to the kitchen to create a better flow and allow for more counter space.  New cabinets, new granite counter tops, new stainless steel appliances (which we managed to not scratch in our 3 years there-- success!), new hardwood floor, new lights, new plumbing, new windows, new relaxed venetian blinds sewn by yours truly.  Deleaded.  Let's just say it's pretty started from scratch here. Previous and expanded post about the kitchen remodel can be found here.



New paint, new wainscoting, new hooks, new shelf, new floor, deleaded.



New paint, new lights, deleaded!



New paint, removed carpet and radiators, new windows and blinds, new light/ceiling fan, deleaded.  The bedrooms also all got awesome light switches that individually controlled the light/fade and the fan speed.  So handy!



New paint, removed carpet and radiators, new light/ceiling fan, new windows and blinds, removed radiator, deleaded



New paint, new windows and blinds, new light/ceiling fan, deleaded



Goodbye tile-crazy bathroom!  (Seriously, did the ceiling really need tile?)  Hello jacuzzi tub!  New tub, new floor and wall tile, new vanity (with double sinks!), new mirror, new lighting fixtures, new toilet, new window, new moisture/mold-resistant paint, deleaded.  Full previous post about the bathroom remodel can be found here.

Heading down to the lower level...



Sanded and re-stained stairs, closed-in underneath to form a closet beneath the stairs (aka a room for Harry Potter =), new molding/baseboards, freshly-painted walls, banister, and rise



New floors, removed now-defunct radiator pipes from ceiling, new back door, new lights, new walls/drywall, removed wall behind stairs (that used to enclose the garage... see below for garage transformation!), new ceiling, new lighting, new paint, deleaded


Since there was no refrigerator or oven in the upstairs kitchen (as confirmed with our neighbors who went inside the house before we owned it), we believe the previous owners used this downstairs space for the day-to-day kitchen needs.

We kept the gas and plumbing lines available in case someone ever wanted to convert the basement into a separate apartment, but for now we enclosed the back wall with TONS of cabinet storage space (I miss you tool/food storage/sewing stuff/general junk-hiding space!) New floors, new walls, new lighting, new paint, new window and blinds, deleaded



Sadly, I forgot to take a real "after" picture of the office, so I had to just grab this random picture taken in the room from our general picture stash.  It doesn't show off the real finished look, but it gives you a general idea.  New floors, new walls and ceiling, new paint, new lighting, new electrical box, new window and blinds, deleaded


The creepy chair in the middle of the room earned this room its endearing nickname, The Interrogation Room.  All of Libby and Reeve's future boyfriends may report here first. =)

 A guest/aunt Doodle room!  Added a closet, new floors, new walls and ceiling, added a ceiling fan, new paint, new door, new window and blinds, deleaded



New everything!  New tub, new floor and wall tile, new walls and ceiling, new paint, new vanity, new light fixture, new toilet.  Added bonus: since we are tall and often crouching to get our hair wet in standard showers, and as long as the walls are wide-open with renovation anyway, we went ahead and reworked the plumbing, re-welding the shower head much higher so we can actually take a normal shower here.  Hooray!



Almost makes you want to do laundry, doesn't it? =)  Repurposed basement kitchen sink, refinished upstairs kitchen cabinets and added new handles to repurpose them as laundry room cabinets, new tile, pole hung for hangers, new windows and blinds, new walls and ceiling, new paint, deleaded


We don't even have any decent "before" pictures of the garage because it was such a non-descript room, it apparently didn't inspire us as part of the photographic history. Here's what we have, but suffice it to say it was a cold, gray room enclosed completely in cold, gray cement from floor to ceiling.

Transformed into a beautiful media and playroom!  New french doors open to the back yard.  Tore down wall between the hallway and the garage to open an access route to the room (since the garage was previously only accessible through the outside door.)  New floors, new walls and ceiling, new paint, new lighting, new windows, new curtains sewn again by yours truly, deleaded



Added a swing set and patio furniture, landscaping, resurfaced asphalt, built a storage shed to match the house!

One thing we worked hard to preserve throughout the house...  our doorknobs!  Aren't these the most beautiful doorknobs you've ever seen?  They have equally cool keys that open them.  No, this isn't only a fancy knob for my grand front door knob.  These were the doorknobs for every single door of the upstairs living space.  I love New England homes!

When I think of our renovation, I admit my blood pressure starts to rise with the memories of moving cross-country into a vat of upheaval.  Every resource of time, money, and sanity (and often that of our friends and family, as well!) was put into reconstructing this home.

"Mealtimes" (if pop tarts and frozen dinners can even be called that) were spent huddled around a basement table, blowing away drywall dust and discussing the upcoming plumbing needs.

Clutter and chaos (yes, that's my stove on a dolly in the foreground, waiting to be hooked up for the next meal because it blocked the basement hallway otherwise,)

Dust, dust, and more dust (and then a little more) on every viable surface of the house.  With a crawling baby.

Putting my baby down for naps in makeshift beds from cardboard appliance boxes because the crib is not yet assembled, in a room being painted, in a room next to hammering and/or drilling, etc, etc

Most babies learn to pull themselves to a stand on couches and coffee tables.  Reeve got to learn with 5-gallon paint buckets and an air compressor.

Did I mention an utterly chaotic and potentially dangerous wonderland for a baby who crawls and sticks everything in her mouth???

Instead of date nights at the movies without the kids, we got late nights at Home Depot with the kids in tow.  Seriously, home renovation is not for the faint of heart.  When you walk into a beautifully updated home, please take a moment to realize 50 bazillion decisions went into that space, from the wall texture to the paint color to the counter material to the grout color to the tile design and outlay to the lighting design....  I'm not an interior designer, and I have immensely greater appreciation for the profession now.  Sure, a lot of the decisions are fun, but when you're trying to please everyone's taste, stay within budget, and make it all work together, it's a whole lot harder than it looks!

But then I think of the outcome, and my blood pressure rises for only one reason: how very much I love and miss this home!

Its floors felt the very first steps of my cutie, Reeve.

I prepared my first Thanksgiving meal in that fabulous kitchen, and we feasted on it together in the dining room.

We watched for winter's first snowfall through its windows

And baked up happiness-- our first egg-free chocolate chip cookies-- right here, too.

We hung our stockings by our very own chimney with care.

There were leaf piles in autumn

and hollowed-out snow piles in winter.

It was our launch pad to scholastic success for more than one family member, not the least of whom was dad, who completed his final phase of schooling here.  (More to come on that in an upcoming post... stay tuned!)

And a great place to crash when we needed a break.

We got into trouble and stood in your corners.

We made messes (some more than others!),

had fun,

and basically just grew up a little.

We even added a new family member here.

So I hope how you can understand how my heart ached when the big yellow van pulled up to move us away; to take us to new adventures and new homes with new memories.  It was a bittersweet moment, to say the least, to graduate from this house, this place, and this phase of our lives.  This wasn't a simple house "flip," and saying goodbye was tough.

No matter where we live, a part of me will always call this amazing gray house with a red front door and rich hardwood floors...



betsey said...

AMAZING!!! I love this! Thank you so much for putting this together. I love seeing all the pictures in one place and I am amazed at how much work you and Brian did in the last three years! WOW!!!! Way to go!!!

Ashley said...

Wow! I knew it was a lot of work but the pictures really put it all in to perspective Jacy--I don't know how you survived a whole house remodel!!! Again, another reason why you are amazing!! I miss you guys! I miss going over to your house for dinner or music class or BBQ's. I am so glad you guys were here even if it was for a little bit. Hugs!

tenacious d said...

Oh wow! I am so very, very impressed! What a darling home you guys made--while you were having babies and small children and Bryan was in training. Leaving must've been wrenching, but I am so glad that you're here with us now.

Popi and CeCe said...

Whole Sheban--for REAL! It is easy to just remember the finished product, but your continuous blood, sweat and tears were industrious and amazing...and what a fabulous tremendous home you built! The doorknobs were my favorite right from the beginning, and the picture of Reeve standing up with the 5 gallon paint can is a classic. Libby watching DVDs on the little player during construction is adorable, instead of painting walls or some other mischief--what a good girl! ...and Briggs coming home to this beautiful home--what a lucky guy! All the bazillion decisions were perfect...but the best decision was to come back to CALIFORNIA! We are SO HAPPY you are here, and luckily you won't have to start your next remodel in "a heart beat"...you can take your time...but the next bazzillion decisions will be just as awesome! You earned your Honorary Interior Design degree, and Brian not only his Ortho degree, but honorary general contractor! BRAVO, ASBURYS!

Kristin said...

Amazing....and we miss you!

Jenna said...

You did such an amazing job! I want to buy a house after you have lived in it:) Your memories of the house almost made me cry and they aren't mine, haha.

Kim said...

We miss you in Boston. I still park in front of your house to pick up my husband from the train. I never realized how much really went into that house! You're amazing at hiding stress and chaos. Hope you're enjoying your new location.

Heidi said...

What an amazing transformation! Oh how u will miss that house. So many memories!

Brian said...


I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


Naters and Katers said...

Now you get to build new ones in San Diego! Glad to have you close!

scooping it up said...

This made me cry. Miss you. Love you. Cannot believe all the tears and sweat that went into this amazing house. Now, time for another blog update. ;)

Milliscent Morgan said...

Nice blog but supposedly I'm looking for the site of pantry doors. Thanks!

Essie Reed said...

Renovation may have a challenging process, but with the results you got, I'd say it was all worth it. And I must say, feasting on the delicious meal you cooked afterwards was the perfect way to celebrate it! Anyway, have you made any changes to it ever since?

Essie Reed @ Valley Home Improvement

Somerville Aluminum said...

WOW!! These are some really great before and after pics! It's obvious you put a lot of hard work and love into this home, and it shows. The new owners are extremely lucky!

Chris said...

Wow! What a transformation in every room shown! Love what you have done and I hope you have had many more memories come from this beautiful backdrop!

Danny Waddle said...

Great renovations. A lot of care was put into this home..great job!