Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year, New Projects

Finishing my first major renovation project this year feels like a great accomplishment.  I'm thrilled that it's done but, at the same time, I'm a little sad it's over.  There was quite an adrenaline rush (or various combinations of sickness and excitement) in seeing my house stripped back to its 168-year-old core...

...and put back together. 

 I miss coming home to see progress being made.  I'm eager to see that progress continue on the inside but the renovation coffers are depleted for a little while.  

In the meantime, I have several projects I can work on.  

First, I need to finalize the plan for the new kitchen and the two bathrooms.  I have a sick feeling that I'm going to have to get another variance for the windows changes I want to make for the new kitchen layout.  

As I mentioned earlier, I want to redecorate the guest bedroom.  Future renovations will not involve this room at all so it's a good opportunity for me to work on establishing a new feel/mood for the inside that better fits the new exterior.

I'm envisioning something that's a little Ralph Lauren...

...a little European country...

...and a little junk shop.

Here are some of the things inspiring this look.  Remember my glazed wallpaper experiment?  I'm leaning toward glazing it in the same color as I've used in the living room but I'll try to leave more of the gray pattern showing through.  Many of you liked the gray glaze--as did I--but I think I want to keep the house light.  I may do a few accent walls in a darker gray.  

I found the ivory matelasse coverlet (with Grecian urns no less!) on a recent trip to Maine for 70 PERCENT OFF!  (That NEVER happens to me. )  The pillow sham with the gray stripe is Belgian linen from Restoration hardware.

I'll add to that some of the vintage things I love to collect, primarily wood and black metal.

I'm still trying to think of a creative way to display my collection of vintage show forms.

I would like to paint this old bow-front dresser that was left in the house... look something more like this Gustavian piece.

The dining room that's right next to the living room will also get a makeover.  I've never been happy with the modern dining room table in my old house.  It's too sleek and takes up too much room.

I recently found this chunky pedestal table base...

...and I'm going to pair it with this tabletop that will be wrapped in zinc.  It's going to be cut in two and put on an expanding frame so two leaves can be put in for larger dinners.

Remember these chairs I bought on ebay?  They turned out to be too small for the living room so I'm going to overhaul these to go with the new zinc-topped dining room table.  They're pretty scary right now but just a simple change in color...
...would really change their look.  Or I could..., I'm just kidding.

I'm thinking they'll be painted a dark gray or brownish gray...

...and upholstered to look more like this bed.

I just got these wingback chairs for the living room.  I find these so horrible they're almost wonderful,  if you know what I mean.  I think I'll leave the natural brown legs and then I'll have them recovered.  These might also work in the bedrooms as a nice comfortable place to sit and read before going to bed.

I like this windowpane fabric but I'm thinking I'd like them to be more masculine with perhaps a houndstooth or herringbone on the outside...
...with just linen on the back and seat.  

And in between all of that, I've got 10 windows that need to be painted on the inside.  Getting the windows painted actually is my first priority but I'll try to work in these other projects and keep you updated as progress is being made.


It's been almost a year since Trina from A Country Farmhouse encouraged me to start a blog.  I wasn't sure anyone would be interested but I particularly wanted to document my process of getting a variance in Cambridge, Massachusetts and going through a renovation in a congested urban area.  Along the way, I've found people were interested and I've been encouraged by those of you who are kind enough to leave (mostly) supportive comments.  I've "met" some wonderful, interesting and inspiring people around the world and I've gotten frequent e-mails from people who are renovating homes in the area or who grew up or lived in Cambridge.  

To all of you, I send out a thank you and a sincere wish for a happy, healthy New Year.



  1. Oh, your projects look so exciting! I love all your chair finds and I am envious. I live in a part of the world where people's old stuff is from 1983. I love those wing chairs and yes, I know what you mean - they are ugly beautiful already. Good luck with all the windows. I have had a useless lazy week. I did go test drive cars again and have settled on a new Audi A4 (my car is 10 years old and I have been coveting an A4. Today I am trying to get some ambition and clean up the basement. Nothing blog worthy yet...


    Happy New Year and can't wait to follow your blog in 2011. xo's Terri

  2. ...and your're doing a splendid job. I so enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Hi Steve!
    You are one ambitious guy...with great taste! I'm thrilled to see all your upcoming projects - you've got some wonderful ideas and I can't wait to see the progress. I have really enjoyed all the places you've taken us this past year, the interesting stories and the exciting adventure of your new home...I know this year will be even better.
    Thanks for all your great conversation and support!
    I can't wait to see the RL, country and junk shop mix redo!
    Have a wonderful new years!

    btw - I love the new blog look especially the about me quote! :)

  4. Those wing chairs look as though they will walk all around your house and peer into drawers and cupboards whenever you are away from home!

  5. I think you are either born with an eye for style or your not. You Steve, have obviously been blessed. You really know what you like and then put it together so effortlessly. Looking forward to all your new projects. Happy New Year!!

  6. Sarah always says it best! I'm so glad to have "met" you and I enjoy our correspondence tremendously. I love all the furniture you've got stashed away. Those two wing chairs look pretty similar to two I've gotten rid of, er donated to my daughter!
    I love peeking into and outside your home. It is truly a treasure. I'm so glad you started your blog too!

  7. Gee, Steve--are you sure you have enough up your sleeve to last you through the winter?

    I have designs on that pedestal table with the zinc top. That is EXACTLY what I'd love to have. And the zebra upholstered chair may not fit with the decor of your house, but it's a fun, funky look if you go further into the Junk Shop mode (which is the mode I'm in, not exactly by choice).

    Can't wait to see what unfolds here in the new year!

  8. hey steve,

    guys do like nice houses, i like that.

    i also like the rl, country european, junk plan you have for the joint. it's gonna look fab.

    sounds like you are gonna be one busy guy this year. i'll be along for the ride.


    happy new year!


  9. I love what you have done to your home. I am especially in love with your idea for the wingbacks.... double fabric makes my heart go pitter patter!
    Happy 2011!

  10. Happy New Year Steve. I'll be along for the ride as you roll up your sleeves and get to work on these new projects. Ahhhh, just what you need...a peanut gallery!

  11. Steve,
    Looks like a great year ahead for you, and those of us that love what you do. My wing chairs are sitting with matelasse coverlets draped over them. Bijou, my cat, thinks I brought them in specifically for her to stretch and sharpen claws on! I think I should have time to get to them in June! Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! I should be in Boston any day now. Looking forward to the snow for a little while.

  12. Nice to do list...and Happy New Year...2010 was indeed a great year of accomplishment.

  13. Perfect stuff Steve...but that is what I see, every time I read your blog!

    Happy 2011! cheers xo kelley

    ps I still want to live on the east coast...even with the weather

  14. I'm very glad you've started the blog and I look forward to tracking your new projects! Happy New Year Steve!

  15. Hi Steve. Having stumbled upon your blog, as one does, I was delighted by the pineapple in your banner/header, but it was the nailhead trim in the first picture that had me scroll down the page at lightnening speed, and click that FOLLOW button!
    Can't wait to follow into 2011 and beyond :o)

  16. Ahhh. What a beautiful cottage that is lucky to have you take care of it for this 'season'. I love old homes...and miss them (and the northeast too!).

    Hey...consider the bowfront dresser as a vanity in a bathroom re-do! Love your zinc topped table idea!

    Adding you to my faves list...Happy new year to ME!

    To a wonderful twenty-eleven!

    I'm add

  17. Steve, gorgeous inspiration! We love your taste! Looking forwarding to reading more of you in 2011!

    Happy New Year!

    E + J

  18. Time flies, doesn't it? I was worried that you'd stop blogging once the renovation was done -- how thrilled I am to see that you'll be giving us some great stuff as you go through the inside. I've totally enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and emails. I can't WAIT to see what you do with that table base and top. My wish for you is a very happy, wonderful, dream come true 2011.

  19. Oh joy! So glad to see your going to continue to share your home with us, your so inspiring. Im really interested in your dining table also.... Cheers to the New Year!

  20. I'm loving all the projects you have planned. Especially the glazed wallpaper and then I see the dining room table you have planned ...and yowza! yes....that will be good. Then I saw the leopard chair and I thought....Yike...Steve! Then you said you were joking...ha ha

    I think painting that dresser gray would be excellent. I'm loving all of it and I'm so glad that I found your blog and met you so that I can see it all come to fruition.

    I can't imagine what you have planned for the kitchen...I bet it will be extra great.

  21. really hit the ground running, don't you? You have totally inspired me to re-evaluate my own home/projects. Your ideas look amazing, and I can't wait to see the results. Happy New Year!...k

  22. I've just discovered your blog - I love Greek revivals! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress! Happy New Year!!!

  23. Wishing all your 2011 house projects get to a happy end and that you enjoy the process, and may this year brings much happiness and love into your life.
    It`s a great pleasure seeing your home decorated for christmas in such a wonderful way contrasting with all the snow you have around, it looks really beautiful!!!
    It´s been great meeting you Steve.
    muchos cariños
    maria cecilia

  24. your home is amazing! Cant wait to see the bedroom makeover.

  25. hey.... where did my comment go?! ohhhhhhh, I think I only wrote it in my head... my bad (what does that mean?!)
    your projects are all as fabulous as you! I love that RL dining room! Your shoe forms with the metal are some of the prettiest I've seen. do you have many children's? those are always so charming. when you figure out that paint finish please let me know! that pair of chairs with the gawd-awful fabric is FABULOUS... I want them! can't wait to see all your ideas become reality!

    happy new year my friend!

    p.s. must remember to send trina a 'thank you for' encouraging you to start your own blog!

  26. I just discovered your blog...what a beautiful home you have!!! You have accomplished soooo much in the last year I know you must be thrilled!!!! I look forward to seeing more of your projects :o)

  27. What an amazing home!! I just discovered you, too (I saw the name of your blog in someone's sidebar...I can't think of anything better than an urban cottage!!). I'm wrapping up a reno of an attic so appreciate your hard work. REALLY appreciate. An old home is a lot of work but it's the best "job" I've ever had.

    So happy to find you and looking forward to visiting again.

  28. I know exactly what you mean when you say you're a little sad about the reno being over. I don't like mine to come to an end either - I find the whole process, especially the planning, to be so much fun. But all of your new projects look fabulous! Congratulations on a job well done, and I know all you do in the future will be beautifully done.

  29. I've come from Deb's Loyalist Cottage blog.

    You have impeccable taste, in style and quality.

    I love all your plans and I love how you know what you like ... you're 'across' the whole interior of your home and have such vision.

    It is remarkable what you've already achieved ... it looks that wonderful that I have trouble discerning your photos from those professionally done of others' work.

    I'm guessing you'll get those chairs all upholstered professionally ... I have a number of chairs which need upholstering and I think you'll inspire me to drag them into an interior decorator to get them done.

  30. Love the RL dining room look. Go for it! I agree the dining room table seems to take over the room and is too slick. Love the chairs from ebay...they are gorgeous. Aren't they Louie chairs? I just love Louie! Have you been on centsational She has repainted many pieces of older furniture..just fyi

  31. Oh and forgot..have you visited Love it!!!!!!!!! You search homes by region (I.e. Boston) for inspiration.

  32. Ooo I like your style!

  33. Geez...I am so glad you started blogging...since I did not use bread crumbs...I don't know how I got here but whoa...I'll be back.