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Some of you may remember this total home renovation featured in Domino a few years ago.

Hope Dana CT

The Connecticut house belongs to Hope Dana – half of the architect team plattdana.  More pictures on their site and over at Happy Living Design.

I’ve had Hope’s bedroom in my design files since I first flipped through the issue back in 2006.


Now I’ve discovered plattdana’s website, and I’d like to drag the entire thing into my Flickr account.

Check out this beauty in Ancramdale, the southeastern part of Columbia County:


Note the Marais chairs and the subtle pops of color:


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I’m not one for resolutions – I don’t make them, so I can’t break them.  I do, however, keep a running home improvement to-do list in my head, and I figured getting it down on paper (or .php) might help me visualize the extent of the projects – and the reality of completing them in the next 11+ months.

So herewith are my 2009 home improvement goals, in room/area order (score on already achieving my first goal of writing it down):

  1. make a home improvement binder that includes measurements for each room, including windows, closets, floors, etc.  Also include contact numbers for repairmen, hardware store, etc.  (note: this is separate from my magazine ‘inspiration’ binder –  alright, binders.)
  2. strategize about deck issue (ugh, long story)
  3. add post to top of driveway with better address signage
  4. mudroom – a place to sit/put on boots/store hats
  5. living room – couches?
  6. dining room – reupholster & reglue chairs
  7. dining room – table
  8. living room/loft – tv solution
  9. master – bed and mattress –  no more sleeping on the floor!
  10. master – paint
  11. upstairs bath – sconces
  12. upstairs bath – solution for storing towels, etc.
  13. upstairs hall – clean and line drawers of dresser
  14. upstairs bedroom(s) – replace trim
  15. upstairs bedroom(s) – paint
  16. basement bedroom – bed
  17. basement bedroom – paint
  18. all bedrooms – update window treatments (IKEA?)
  19. water heater – wait for it to die?  replace?
  20. gutters?  repair?
  21. document improvements more regularly, and more professionally (my photos err on the blurry side)

You’ll note that many of these goals are simply furnishing rooms.  It’s true; though we’ve had our place for almost a year, there are still rooms that are nearly empty.  The hand-me-downs have been great – but they only took us so far.  That, and, well, we’re looking forward to replacing some of the pieces we inherited with pieces we choose.  That came out wrong – I love my inherited furniture.  I just mean a girl can aspire to having actual dining chairs and table instead of folding chairs and folding table (remember: those Queen Anne chairs aren’t safe to sit in).

So I guess I’ll check back in around say…December to see how I did.  Works done, right?  I set my goals?  Kudos to me and now all the above will simply fall into place?

Our first major investment in the house was having it painted. We considered doing the work ourselves, but between the crazy-high ceilings of the LVR and our own sketchy track record (cough – nyc living room – cough), we decided to have a local professional do the common areas of the house, which includes the living room, dining room and upstairs hallway/loft that overlooks the living room.

The big debate was white or gray. Flipping through my inspiration binder and magazine collection (Anuj begged me to purge some of it this year so I gave up a few years’ worth of Country Home and a dozen or so House & Gardens, but no one’s coming between me and my Dominos!), white was favored to win. Open living plan, clean country look, let nature be the color, and all that.

But then we decided: let’s bring some nature inside. Give the house some warmth, some life beyond the many shades of white. So we went gray. Gloomy? Surprisingly no. I ear-marked a few gorgeous gray rooms from my magazines, but we knew how much lighting (and a few style editors) played into that. Choosing the right gray was crucial. We went Edgecomb Gray.

Here are the Before & Afters. Our painter did an amazing job, and so did my Dad (remember the trim project?):

Dining room Before

Dining room Before

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A few weeks after my Dad installed the interior window, we slave driving-children had him back to help with our next big undertaking: the trim. As I’ve mentioned, this house was built in the 70’s, and when we bought it in January, it was still bearing many of those less-than-inspired architectural and design features like ugly trim around all the doors and along the floor in most of the rooms.

See it here (with the ugly linen cabinet thing Anuj tore down to make room for the interior window):

The doors of our house aren’t real wood – they’re not even particleboard – they’re just horrible. We knew we couldn’t replace them (at least not yet…), so we decided we’d just paint them and replace the trim around them.

Back to our local lumberyard we went for wood that would be our trim. I knew I wanted a more ‘country’ look, but I wasn’t sure it would jive with our 70’s home – but my Dad assured me it would be great. And so we skipped over the fancy moldings you find in the city or newer homes (saddle, quarter-round, t-mold, shoe) and settled on a historic Colonial standard: 1×6 pine for the baseboards and 1×4 for the door trim. Nothing else. Plain, simple, timeless.

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Here’s the (almost) finished result of the window project. Dad added the decorative trim around the window. We were stuck on how wide the trim should be – it needed to cover the framing, but the size we got meant he had to cut away part of the switch plate on the right to get it to fit. We’re really happy with the result. All that’s left is to paint.

To the right you can see a preview of Dad project 2: trim.

What’s Doing in Columbia/Berkshire County

Find out what's going on in Columbia and Berkshire county:

Columbia county: CoCo To Do

Berkshire county: Rogovoy Report