Thursday, July 18, 2013

Knocking down walls again

You know what we haven't talked about here in a while? House projects. Let's dive in, shall we?

Like probably 90% of the pregnant population, having a little one on the way sent our loosey-goosey "one day" house to-do list into overdrive. Some of the things we'd dreamingly talked about doing took on the urgency of my bladder at 3 a.m., while others just... yeah, not going to happen. Our priority projects are the ones in the future nursery/current guest room and the hallway outside her room. Basically, activities that could massively disrupt a (perfectly content and sleeping, obviously) baby.

Let's refresh. Our guest room is an average-sized second bedroom for Capitol Hill, meaning miniscule for you suburbanites. It has great light and is right next door to our bedroom, but it also features ugly built-ins from the 1970's-era ugly step-sibling of Ikea.

Here's the realtor-produced photo from the house listing along with how it looked six months later (including the junk below the "desk" - keeping it real!):

These things are ugly. And they're also a huge space hog. Meanwhile, our master bedroom closet is on the other side of them. I say "our" very gently - T had to move out of the closet a year ago due to space constraints and the peace of our marriage. It's not very big and also aggressively ugly. Let's take a look at the realtor-produced photo of the master bedroom wall in question, featuring classicly euphemistic language:

Note the "wall of closets." Well dang, how could I complain about a wall of closets?! I'll try:
  1. Completely disregard the "closet" on the far right. It's actually ten inches of usable shelves all the way down and the rest is the chimney. The only practical thing I've been able to do is stuff shoes in the shelves, which means half the time I can't see and/or reach them. Why, you might ask, did someone at some point decide to cover the entire thing up in a closet door to give the appearance of a normal closet inside? I have no idea.
  2. The main closet area is the two doors on the left. They're fine, sure, but very shallow inside and not fit for sharing. For perspective, I've already filled them with maternity clothes alone. Not a ton of space.
  3. The upper closets are good for storage bins etc., but damn ugly.
  4. Hadn't these people ever heard of trim? I'm pretty sure they thought these frameless closets looked "modern." The natural choice when your house was built in 1906, right?
So our closet situation sucked and we've always known we wanted to do something about it. Our plan was this: knock out the wall between the two rooms and completely redesign the closets in both.

Take a look at that upper photo again. We felt that by closing the wall of the future nursery in so that it's level with the window-side closet (which would a "real" closet, not an add-on), we wouldn't lose usable space. The room was already small-ish, and it's a nursery, so really... decent tradeoff. (We popped into an Open House on our street a few weeks ago that featured a nursery the size of our not-big bathroom, so I'm still feeling prety good about Baby H's abode.) And because we can use every extra inch in our closet (maybe even "ours" again?), gaining whole feet at a time could be transformative. Also, for the love of historic homes, there will be frames and doors that match the character of our house!

Our contractors have been working all week. The bad news is that they had to open up the entry to our attic for days a time, which meant a flood of 100+-degree air into the rest of the house. Which convinced our AC to stop working, naturally. But the good news is that they're almost done, and we're already pretty pumped up with what we see.

More soon! PROGRESS! Things HAPPENING! Good stuff.

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