baltimore

Our Baltimore Row Home Renovation

I don't do very well with sticking to goals. I quit just about everything I start within a few weeks, one including this blog. I can't do anything long enough to form a habit. It's weird because I get so excited I'm going to start something new. Maybe it's boredom? Exercising, dieting, cooking and not eating out as much...come and go in weekly spurts. I am only telling you this because I started thinking of the things I have stuck to, and I'm writing a blog for the first time in 8 months to tell you about it. Kind of ironic. The things I have stuck to include;

-Telling my Husband "Good morning, I love you, and have faith and trust in you and us" every day for the past 3 years.

- Taking my "vitamins", aka, anxiety meds every morning around the same time,

- and telling my Mother good night and that I love her. 

Although there are a lot of things that I cannot seem to stick to, my interests have always stayed the same. My creative mind will always drift into song, or day dream about projects I'd like to start. Music, photography, interior design, bridal fashion and crafting always light me up. These interests have never brought in the big bucks-which Shawn may remind me from time to time- but it makes my soul happy, and he understands that.

Once I bought my first home and renovated it, I was hooked. Needed my next project, stat. I moved in with Shawn and two roommates in Baltimore. I could not feel at home there. It wasn't my house, I couldn't decorate like I wanted, and most importantly, it was a new house. Built in 2012. ew. Character was lost somewhere in the 1980's when mass housing communities were born. My family has lived in the same home since I was born. My Dad was the GC of the project, so him and my mom designed it. Every one of my childhood memories happened there. I need to be surrounded with things that mean something to me. Yes, material things. Something Shawn and I argue about often. He comes from a military family who kept their special belongings in a storage unit. They moved many times, and Shawn got to experience way more than I did growing up in different towns. Different climates and different children to play with. He learned not to hold onto material items. I mean, in the end they really do not matter. Ya can't take them to the grave. You live your life in memories and experiences. 

Well, I have a terrible memory and I've always dreamed of handing things down to my children. So sue me. Actually speaking of the word "sue", all this probably comes from my hoarding Mother, Susan. 

In conclusion, I'd like to share with you our most recent project. Near the Lithuanian Hall in Hollins Market, our home. BEFORE...

The living room after photos: We tore down the middle wall with all the closets. We took up carpet, padding and a million staples. Refinished the floors. Opened up the doorways. Painted and installed shutters, replaced spot lights over fireplace. 

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Here are close up's of some of my favorite details :) I made a chandelier out of an old "hay grabber" my Dad found at his Hardware Store. The table, couch, and chair are hand-me-downs. The whiskey was made for us by a friend for our wedding. I made the coffee table from old barn wood from our friends barn that fell down and plumbing pipe. The couch was my grandfathers, as is his gun hanging up. 

So that is our living/dining combo. We made the decision to make the original dining room into our new kitchen. The old kitchen is now our laundry/powder room. This is the biggest transformation. Here are the before photos. 

We took down the wood paneling. We still have them in the basement, I just have to figure out what to do with them. We think they are old wood doors cut in half. The hardest part of designing a kitchen is figuring out where to put everything. We went to Home Depot many times to design it. They have a program that calculates dimensions. We took many measurements, many times. I knew I wanted a wall that was open shelving and some sort of an island. I read somewhere that your most used appliances should be in a triangle. So that's our fridge, oven and sink. This definitely took the most time and effort. Shawn downloaded Google Sketch-up and worked overtime to get everything correct. We did not order anything from Home Depot, their quote was 4 times what we actually paid. We had the sink, from a Habitat from Humanity ReStore purchase months prior. Having that one piece helped a lot. We basically designed the kitchen around that. Standard cabinets do not come cut for farmhouse sinks, so we had to get that sink cabinet re-cut. Hardware was all bought way after cabinets were installed. We went to Lowes and got all new appliances near Christmas when they were having a sale. Faucets are expensive. Copper range hoods are expensive. Marble counter tops are expensive. We ended up getting a look a-like granite. I wanted it to match the fireplace. All these purchases did not happen at once. This was hard because I have no patience. I could see the outcome, but had to wait for paychecks. My vision for the kitchen was white and copper. How do you think we did? 

Since I love Chip & Joanna (who doesn't?) my new favorite wall accessory is shiplap. If you've noticed they don't use shiplap in kitchens because it's wood. So I went researching for an alternative. This is Hardi plank exterior siding. It's a concrete composite so it's non-flammable....you can install behind ovens. Perfect! It is super heavy and easily cracks, so you have to be careful when installing. We had help. Shawn surprised me with the copper range hood he found on eBay. My mom gave us the stools she got from Tractor Supply. The new door to the laundry room was an original door the boys cut down and we hung up on sliders. 

Next up is our master bedroom. There wasn't much we had to do up there. Carpet, staples, re-paint. We didn't totally refinish the hardwood upstairs. We got it stripped, and I decided to white-wash them. Bigger task than I thought. It can only be done in 4x4 squares. I mixed up one part white paint, two parts water and painted it on. Then you have to wipe it off to show the wood grain underneath. Our upstairs is approx. 1,000 sq. ft, so it took a couple weeks. I've always wanted a 3 window wide home. So much light! Before...

AFTER. I got the curtain rods from Target, but needed tie backs. So I made these out of plumbing pipe (see a pattern?). The pew is my favorite part. It was our guest book from our wedding. I get to read the notes every morning. It's Shawn's best idea yet. The apple crates fit perfectly into the cubbies, they are from an orchard up in Thurmont MD. 

There are 2 full bathrooms on the 2nd floor. We refinished one of them for now. It was straight out of the 70's. This one is through our guest room on 2nd floor. Before...

The bathroom was totally gutted, minus the vanity. I painted it white and replaced the faucet. Other than that, everything is new. After...

We still have two more bathrooms to complete, and the laundry room (the old kitchen). I'll be posting about that next. All the work was completed in one year with the help of our contractor, plumber and electrician. Hope you enjoyed this journey so far! More to come :)