Hey! What ever happened to that girl who’s blog you were reading but then you never heard from again? Well she had another crazy few months that’s for sure! We closed on the house, got married and BIG TWIST – Quit our jobs to start our own business! [Sorry, we were better at keeping the InstaFam updated! We’re visual people!] Both Chris and I are now full time with Northshire Living, and it’s no longer just a home & style blog but a full fledged Kitchen, Bath, Home Remodel, & Interior Design business. We’ll still be serving up yummy recipes and all our DIY projects and I am BEYOND EXCITED to start bringing you beautiful projects that are 100% us! I hated handing off a kitchen with no bar stools at the island or doing a bathroom and not being able to pick out the perfect soap dispenser or monogrammed towels, and even more frustrating to not really be able to help clients who wanted my help with more than just the kitchens and bathrooms… but the rest of the house as well because we had developed such a good rapport and I really got their style. So we took the plunge and went for it!
Last we wrote, we were about to close on the house! We closed on July 13th, and we got started right away on DEMO! Luckily, my Bachelorette Party was that weekend… so I went off to Brimfield Antique Market in Western Massachusetts with my Best Ladies to scout for stuff for the house while Chris and my Dad took care of the real nasty stuff, like the drop ceiling full of mouse homes, busting out the kitchen peninsula, knocking out a useless and giant linen closet that ruined the footprint of the master bedroom and ripping out the laminate, linoleum, and plywood covering up the gorgeous original picture framed Fir floors. [Finding these under carpet and seeming to go under the other flooring was a big factor in us deciding to go for it with this house!] I came back and was in charge of carpet demo & my FAVORITE task (note: sarcasm) – Pulling up carpet strips and the 10 zillion staples left behind. Once we wrapped up that demo… we experienced some project creep [surprise!] and decided we hated the pantry, it was gross and not functional and needed to go! So into the dumpster it went!
Before we could move in we had 3 priorities – get the master bedroom and living room finished and kitchen to a “move-in” place, and we could chip away at the rest while we lived there – our real priority being getting out of our Cass Terrace house so we could renovate that quickly and get it rented out. I’m proud to say we were almost totally moved in by labor day!
We unfortunately found out during demo the original Fir floor was not salvageable in the Kitchen, due to some very very old linoleum glued directly to them which caused them to disintegrate. Though disappointing, we were thrilled to not need to rip up another room full of plywood subfloor and I’m pumped to be able to select a really cool kitchen tile. [akdo mansion lounge tile here I come!] With the difference in height, when the floors wear out (we will not get another sand out of them) and put new hardwood over, they’ll be perfectly level with the tile – which is a HOME RUN for a 100+ year old house in my opinion! I’m just hoping we can replicate the picture framing in the floors when we replace them – that is one of my favorite details in the house! In the kitchen, we put in a new bead board ceiling with low profile LED lights as we didn’t want to live with the drop ceiling, put some masonite down on the floors, gave the existing cabinets a deep cleaning, and added an old farm table from Chris’s childhood home in East Dorset to use as a temporary kitchen island. We new we wanted quality cabinetry and soapstone countertops and all the bell’s & whistles we love to sell like mixer stands, potato baskets, and tiered cutlery storage AND we didn’t want to compromise! So we decided to live with what was here for a while and once we have a little less on our plate, we’ll bite off what I KNOW will someday be the crown jewel of our house – A chef’s kitchen tailored to work perfectly for the way I cook! – It’s all about that 36″ Range with room for a full sheet pan in the oven!
The master was a pretty easy undertaking in hindsight, though I wouldn’t have told you that in the middle my never ending project of painting the pine trim white. Many, many layers of BIN, primer, and Simply White paint in a huge room with lots and lots and lots of trim. The master suite was an addition to the original house of the kitchen the previous owners completed in 2001, to allow for first floor living – we found hot water radiant heat in the floors here which was a big bonus and even though there were some very dated design elements, this was truly just cosmetic. We took down the floral border, threw some primer over the magenta walls, said goodbye to the emerald green carpet & said hello to white trim, grey walls, a fabulous new ceiling fan [a sentence you never thought you’d never hear a designer say! but thats another blog post!] and splurged on some beautiful new carpeting from Milliken. I may still have some mullions to paint for the windows & sliding door to the back porch but those are a good winter project! We are ALMOST done with the furnishings for this room, I’ll do a full before and after post once we finish – Just waiting on nightstands & lampshades!
In the living room, after the hardwood floors had been attended to which we left to a professional floor sander – Scott Hurley, everything else was paint! We painted the brick fireplace grey and decided to carry the color up into the chimney chase. The trim we new we wanted to be an accent in here, Revere Pewter, so the staircase to the second floor could be painted that color. The wall color was a super difficult for me in this space as the layout is so open and I already had the other spaces figured out. I initially wanted neutral as I knew I wanted to do a very saturated color in the Dining Room but couldn’t settle on one I liked. Chris then decided it was his turn to pick out a color and requested we color match his olive drab jacket from the army. Initially I was like “Whoa, buddy lets cool it with the bold design choices young grasshopper and leave it to the professionals” (read: me) Because not a lot of rooms can carry olive walls but I have NEVER Been so happy I listened to my husband! He was so right! It is the perfect wall color and it actually works really well with the dining space. We did end up deciding to do the staircase walls Manchester Tan which is the color the Kitchen will be, because doing a fourth wall of the olive seemed like too much, which looks really beautiful & classic with the Pewter staircase and White Spindles. We are done in this room for now, we’ve got a new couch on the wishlist and Chris has some more floating walnut shelves to build but we are so happy with this transformation we are so not in a rush!
We settled into the new house just a few days before the real big day – Our wedding! The night before our rehearsal dinner we hosted our first dinner at the new house, Chris’s groomsman Mike & his wife Cara. In lieu of a dining table we ate al fresco on the back porch with a sunset view of lovely Equinox – I remember this as the first time I sat back and got to enjoy the fruits of our labor and thought to myself “Man, we really did something right here.” When the best day of our lives rolled around, September 16th, we decided to spend the night back at home rather than a hotel cause there was something more special about being there than anywhere else. And although it wasn’t the first time [he practiced the day we bought the house] Chris carried me across the threshold and through the front door – that was when it truly felt real, we were married!
After enjoying a day back at home, we took off to Cancun for our honeymoon! We stayed about 40 minutes north of the City Center in Playa Mujeres – Where we found a five star all inclusive resort and the promise of leaving our stressful day to day behind to do nothing but lay on the beach. For a traveller like me, always thirsting for culture -this was near unheard of – no museums or historic sites? Wouldn’t we be bored? Well let me tell you, after a summer like ours relaxation was JUST what the doctor ordered. There were activities and a spa and about a million pools with 5 different dining options and a cafe, all with ever changing menus and specials full of foodie Mexican fusion treats – you were never bored, and if you were – there was an outing for that! We only ended up venturing off resort for a catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres, which was a great day trip to get a little dose of culture in! Though it felt great to get away, by the end of the trip all we wanted to do was get back to Vermont and nest in our new house – we only wish we had scheduled it so we had some time off once we got back! Now that we’re back to Vermont Winter… we’re dreaming of going back again!
After returning from the honeymoon, snapping back into reality was tough – we had the Cass Terrace house in need of a new bathroom and to take a few steps back in the kitchen & uninstall the cabinets to get the floors leveled further, and a dining room at the Richville house that needed to happen before the holidays. Though we pulled off having the dining room ready for the tradition of Pre-Thanksgiving Pizza Night thanks to some help from my Mom & Dad, Cass Terrace hasn’t made too much progress given it’s the busiest time of the year for our contractors and we were working full time at ATD. Now that we’re off on our own, we’ve checked off one more room at the Richville House, the upstairs bedroom I’m writing this blog post from right now – our temporary office until we open up our very own showroom! We expected to have some downtime to plug away at Cass Terrace but… surprise, surprise we have so much on our plates we have been working 10-12 hour days! But next week we’ll have guys back over there and a January 1st goal for completion so if you know anyone in need of a 3 bedroom /1.5 Bath Rental in Manchester – navigate to our contact us tab!
We’re so excited to start this journey of our very own business, we hope you’ll follow along for the ride!