Wednesday, October 21, 2015
We've been lucky to live in some great old houses over the years. Our 96 year old victorian in Cincinnati 1.0 and our fantastic Mid-Centruy Modern in San Antonio that we lucked out on renting for 3 years (I still miss that house). For me, enjoying my home--the design and the overall look + feel--is a big deal. I think a lot of people feel that way, but of course personal tastes vary greatly. My brother and I always laugh about what opposites we are in this department--when it comes to homes he likes newnewnew! And for me, the older the better. In fact when they lived in California he was once lamenting to me that he was sick of everything in the house breaking all the time and that it was always needing repairs. "Well it is 20 years old," he said matter of factly. I laughed and said I had never lived in a house that new.
The thing that I haven't loved about living in all these old homes are the old, nasty bathrooms. This includes our current house. It's not just that the bathrooms are outdated (though definitely that!) but we're talking broken tiles, lowered ceilings(?), no ventilation, mold coming through the grout, and poor lighting.
So for the first time as grown-up adults we are finally looking into doing some serious, grown-up remodeling. We would be redoing the main bathroom (which is also the one the girls use) and the master bathroom. This is both very exciting and very daunting! We love a good DIY and I would say we are both handy people--especially the husband--but since we are talking about renovating down to the studs, maybe even redesigning the space, this renovation is completely out of our wheelhouse. Not to mention we just don't have the time we used to have. I've just started the process of interviewing some different design firms who can do anything from drawing up design plans and letting you take it from there, to drawing up design plans and seeing the project through to the end. At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter since again this feels SO out of my comfort zone.
It's clear from these inspiration photos that I have a certain aesthetic I'm in mind--lots of white subway tile with dark grout, I'd love to get an old claw foot again (we had one in our Victorian), brass fixtures, and wood accents. Also, I really think you can't go wrong with a black and white palette. That being said, choosing every single fixture, tile, flooring, etc freaks me out a little! Another reason I'd gladly accept the help of a designer. Forgive me, but I've just had an epiphany in realizing why I like living in already built, old homes. First, the idea of building a home from scratch and choosing every little finish, paint color, flooring choice all at once gives me a panic attack just thinking about it. I'd much rather buy a home that someone else did all the decision making on and then tweak it here and there as I see fit. For some people that probably sounds crazy (put your hand down husband), but if I don't like something that I chose in a year, well no one to blame but myself. Also, the fact that a house is old but design wise still relevant really appeals to me. I have always liked things (books, music, art) that have stood the test of time. So it makes sense to me that I want a house that has also been around for a few decades--it can be timeless, yet we can make the necessary changes to make it modern at the same time. Also, I just like old stuff. Let's not over think it.
I'm curious to hear from any of you seasoned renovators where did you start? Did you completely DIY a space and just take it one step at a time? If you hired out the work, did you hire someone to handle it from start to finish or did you design the space yourself and figure it out as you went along contracting work when you needed it done? Since I know what I want the space to look like, I don't feel as though I need someone to help my pick every little thing BUT at the same time a good designer will know how to rework the space for maximum usage and will know good sources and can even get you discounts. Did anyone ever start with a designer and wish they hadn't used them for the full project? Has anyone ever tackled a project solo and then wished they had just hired a designer? Please, tell me all your secrets!