Thursday, March 30, 2017

Saint Andrews house re-model

Saint Andrews house re-model, Saint Simons Island, Georgia. 

Original kitchen. 

After re-model.....

Follow the re-model.

After I sold The Coastal Farmhouse in the Spring of 2016, I found this older ranch home in a very established neighborhood on the beach side of Saint Simons Island, Georgia.

I started this re-model in January 2016 and finished (is it ever really?) in June of last year.  This is the second home where I acted as the General Contractor, pulling permits and managing all sub-contractors.  The house had good bones and vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and living room but was otherwise very dated. 

Given my time in Italy, I have come to love courtyards so this front courtyard was appealing.  The guest bedroom has a similar courtyard which adds an ability to open a door to the outside which is entirely different for me than opening a window. 

In my perfect home, each bedroom will open to the outside via a set of french doors into it's own private courtyard (or porch if I continue to live in the South).

I immediately pulled out that dangerous walkway and all the haphazard bushes and planting around the entire house.  

I removed the old non-operable shutters, added olive trees in extra large concrete pots under the garage windows, moved two large rounded boxwoods to flank the entry and generally cleaned up the landscape.

The finish is tabby.  The tabby of today is a mixture of oysters/sea shells and stucco.  Long ago tabby was made from sand, quick lime (calcium oxide, produced locally abundant oyster shells at about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit), unburnt oyster shells and water and other than wood was the primary building.  It's a signature design element in the coastal Low Country homes and one that I really like so I was happy with that.  Because of the home's age this tabby has used smaller shells.  These days larger, chunkier shells are used and you can choose your finish color in any of the      
                                                    natural shades;  I think it's lovely. 

I laid brick in a herringbone pattern at the entry, painted over the blue painted board & batten with Agreeable Gray (Sherwin Williams), added outside curtains and three espaliered olive trees along the front of the house.

Later in the year, after Hurricane Matthew, this tree (and seven others) had to be removed but that's another story...

 I had two styles of large shutters built (standard and hurricane) and mounted on operable hardware and finished the simple landscaping in the front - olive trees, jasmine, rosemary and creeping fig.


Back yard.

This area is a third stall in what was originally a three-care garage.  Somewhere along the line of the history of this house (un-permitted) an owner enclosed one of the garage stalls and made it into an office.  Because of the floor insurance rates rising in all the coastal communities after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, I knew I wanted to raise the flooring in this area and bring it level to the rest of the house.

We simply raised the door frames and built out the floor inside.

Raising the flooring inside to the level of the rest of the house decreased my flood insurance rates by 75%.

Here is the process....

The original areas below both doorways were framed out to comply with flood insurance requirements and we created extra large flood vents in those spaces. 

I had a substantial deck built to the level of the framed doors so there would not be a step down.  As a result of that decision, I was required by building code to add handrails. 

 I wrapped livestock fencing for the railings....

I wanted to make it a strong design statement with this area.  Because it was originally part of the garage it appeared to be an afterthought or poorly designed 'add-on.'   I wanted this area of the house to become as much a part of the house as the main living area.  

... and filled a livestock trough with horsetail reed.  This plant is very invasive so I would only use in a container.  I added another olive tree in a topiary urn and so combined my use of the elegant and the rustic here.  

I designed the cross patterned extra fencing atop the yard fencing offsetting the height of the fencing for visual design purposes.  The extra height of the added fence element was entirely practical however.  I have large dogs and wanted extra height on that deck for their own safety. 

A view of the deck from the converted garage stall.

I used black limestone tile in this room and added simple industrial elements via lighting and a very practical shelving unit on large casters -  available at Lowes. Without a closet, a room cannot legally be called a bedroom for re-sale purposes but this space ended up being a favorite for guests.   

Just off the guest room, I wrapped the mud room in vertical cedar. I stained it with a combination of apple cider vinegar and steel wool.  It's the apple cider vinegar that 'grays' the wood.  White vinegar tends to create an aged brown color.

I added the more traditional white horizontal ship lap to the wall in the bedroom that leads to the outside. A door built from old deck planks was hung onto a barn trolley track from our local Tractor Supply.  Since each house allows for new design experiences I decided to add modern lighting to this room.  

I planted wisteria and rosemary around the deck so in another year I will have a fragrantly wrapped deck.  

Here is the original kitchen.  I removed the window on the upper left and the old speaker box in the upper right.  The cabinets were solid wood so I kept the bottom cabinets.

After extensive drywall repair I had the entire house spray primed and painted white to include the beams.  

I knew I wanted to run the same flooring throughout so I had the old linoleum (layers of it ) removed and the floor leveled and prepped. 

This living room flows in the kitchen.  That is the corner of the original kitchen island on the lower left of this photograph.  The original flooring reminded me of the show The Big Valley and wasn't actually wood so it was all removed.  

I always tape off areas so I can see if my furniture will fit.  That allows me to make decisions about if and where to add electrical outlets in the floor.  In this home none of my couches or chairs would be against a wall. 

After much consideration I decided to use ceramic tile that looks like wood and now I will never go back to wood especially with dogs.  This tile is called Timber Ash and it's from Lowes.  At 8 inches wide and 4 foot long it's bigness is what appealed to me. 

I had the dining room wrapped in a border and the herringbone pattern laid within.  Love that. 

I added simple butcher block countertops but wanted to gray them out.  To create this look, I wiped them with a glazed watered down gray paint and sealed it with layers of Tung oil.

The finished kitchen.  

Every vaulted ceiling deserves statement lighting, and it's an art form to get it right, but the bigger the better I say.

I hung this gorgeous 42" Broken Twig Chandelier in this kitchen.  I have used this style of chandelier in every house I've re-modeled and get more inquiries about it than anything else;  I sell it via my design business, Bella Rustica Design. You can tour my other re-models via the sidebar to how I've used it in other homes but here are a few sample pics:

The Marsh Cottage porch.

The Farmhouse dining room.

I always have a lamp on my kitchen countertop.  In the morning, I need a little light but am not ready for anything more than what this provides.  I can make my cappuccino under quiet light and it sets a tone for my day. 

My dining room & work space.  
Burlap curtains allows filtered light into this window wrapped room.  I had loose, unlined slipcovers made for several chairs.  You can see the fabric and chair pattern underneath in the right lighting.  My heavy bench, made from raw sugar berry wood, is one of my favorite pieces. Many of my best pieces, to include my table, are made by Hondo, Francis and Paula of Island Sea Designs, Brunswick, GA.  If you're in this area, treat yourself to visit to their warehouse and figure out a way to get one of their items home.

My living room. 
Because I live with large, athletic dogs there is nothing in my home that is sacred.  I will only have leather couches and could care less about scratch marks;  It only adds to the patina.  Leather is easier to keep clean than upholstery.  I combine leathers with wood and now the black metals and textiles so popular these days.  My look is organic with elements of the masculine and industrial and often appeals just as much to men as it does to women. 

This was the last design element I finished as I could not decide on how I wanted it done.  Because this is a functioning fireplace that was converted to gas building code requires it be fire resistant  around the fireplace itself and flooring below.  My ceramic tile on the floors fits the bill there.  In this house I wanted a cleaner loo, more modern if you will, so whatever I did below I wanted it to extend to the ceiling.  

I considered concrete and then tabby. 

I love the tabby with lots of chunky oyster shells but the cost to finish this wall with tabby was quoted at $1500 and I'd have to wait for months for the person whose work I liked.  I thought about trying to concrete it myself and studied that for hours but in the end the room for error was to much for me.  It's easier to remove tile than concrete so I opted for ship lap.  I used Hardie concrete board to meet fire code and flipped a coin for vertical or horizontal;  Horizontal won. 

This is the nature of design and re-models.  If you're organized, realistic (and lucky), you get 80% of what you want.  10% is then a surprise and the other 10% will likely be part of a work-around. 

This is the original guest half-bath just inside the front door and off the kitchen.

 I'll never use a traditional vanity when there are so many other options.  This is a feed trough mounted on a metal frame.  Because of it's lack of 'counter space' along the back a wall faucet (one of my favorite design elements) was a must.  

I chose to add another area with black flooring in the entry to the house and then off to the right into this bathroom.  This is actually slate so it has it's own texture and color shift.  The herringbone pattern sets this design option off even more.  

Guest bedroom with bath.  Because I live on an island I have always loved pebble flooring and considered this strongly in the master bath.  Pebble flooring has a rustic-ness to it that move towards zen
In the end, I chose to use it here.

I had a light colored concrete countertop made for a vanity I painted gray.  Because this is a small bath I wanted to add another design element to it so opted to match the flooring to the back splash after I could not get a back splash made by the concrete countertop artisan.  Sometimes it's hard to get your sub-contractors back in a timely fashion if at all. There was too much drywall damage after we pulled off the original backsplash that I had to have a taller backsplash.  I took a chance on this look and ended up being very pleased.  It met my style of coastal rustic with a bit of relaxed elegance.  

I would only recommend the flat pebbles as opposed to the rounded ones.  They are simply easier to stand and walk on. 

 I removed the stock door and added these shutters at the entry.  I used plumbing hardware to mount the doors on vice the much used trolley door hardware used these days just to try something new and replicated that look in the master bedroom.  I would not recommend doing this if the doors must be closed into the center as it was hard to get the doors plumb.  Since there is another door entering the bedroom I did not worry much about not being able to completely close this door but it is something to consider next time.

Guest bedroom. 

Original master bath.  I had to gut this room entirely.   You cannot usually work around bad design. 

There was an old, cast iron short jacuzzi tub that had to go and the shower as well.  I knew I wanted a walk in shower but I also wanted a bathtub so the footprint stayed generally the same.   

I reframed a hallway closet adding it to the master 'curbless' shower at the back.  I needed that extra 24 inches to make the walk in shower long enough to accommodate the lack of door. 

Herringbone marble flooring surrounds the extra wide and tall bath tub. I am not a fan of the stand alone tub (although they look great).  If it's against a wall it's hard to clean around it.  Opted for a modern look in the hardware for this bathroom.  Traditionally, a roman tub style faucet with a hand shower has a very 'country' look to it.

I took two shutter doors and mounted them on plumbing hardware to create an interesting door to the master bath.  Because these shutters are attached, are on wheels and pull across they work on this hardware.  You could not do this without having your door(s) on wheels as they would be too heavy for this hardware.

I rarely use traditional towel racks but instead opt for coat racks or hooks.

I think interesting lighting is very important to a room.   There is so much to choose from at all price points that I encourage all my clients to take the time to see what's out there.

Master bedroom.  I rarely match night stands/tables or reading lights but am a believer the lighting on either sides of our beds must be good for reading otherwise they serve little function.  

The beautiful mirrored window and shutters has been in the dining and living room of my homes but needs a large wall to accommodate.  In this house the only place to put it is here. 

Original deck outside dining room and master suite.  The deck was dangerously rotted through so had to be removed entirely.  I re-built everything to code and had to unfortunately remove the tree upon the recommendation of an arborist - it's a tall pine (shallow root system) and was already leaning towards the house. 

I added an outside shower onto the new deck ...

.... and a window pane trellis to provide some privacy from the neighbors.  Over time the wisteria and jasmine will cover it. 

Simple fire pit. 

The majority of the damage to my property as a result of Hurricane Matthew was from pine trees.  This was one of seven that fell onto my home directly or the backyard fencing.  

Here is my yard after all the trees were down.  There was lots of irrigation repair not to mention landscaping because of the outside damage.  One tree penetrated my roof but fortunately it must have fallen after the heavy rains as there was no inside damage due to rains or even flooding. 

This is the best picture of the house before the hurricane.  That tree at the entrance is no longer there. I mainly lightened the paint, added handsome shutters, and cleaned up and simplified the landscaping with olive trees and boxwoods. 

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