phase one layouts

(this picture was taken standing in the kitchen, facing toward the former dining room. we were in the process of knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen.)

i realize that without showing a layout, it is difficult to visualize what structural changes we've made to our home. there was a time when things looked like the above photo—and there was a reason! we moved/removed a few walls and rearranged a few things, including windows and doors. this was all a part of "phase one" of our remodel, which will eventually include the entire first floor.

we use a program called chief architect to play around with layouts. we didn't hire a general contractor for the project: klaas (my father-in-law) and ben are knowledgeable on these types of things, and klaas's advice was invaluable. he's built houses for a living and knows what works and what doesn't. he thought of plenty of things that we didn't and we are so thankful for his help.

here's what the first level of the house was like when we bought it (a little fuzzy):


and here's the after (well, after phase one!):


the garage is to the right, next to the living room and former dining room. BUT, as you'll notice, when we bought the home there was no door from the garage entering into the house. you'd park your car in the attached garage, and then walk back out the garage door and go to the front or the back of the house to get inside. that was one of the first things we fixed! a lot of houses in bloomington have detached garages, so we wanted to make the most of our attached one.

so we cut a door from the house to the garage. :) in the after layout, there is a proper mudroom as an entry into the house from the garage. we were so happy we made this decision—it is so convenient.

we had to decide if we wanted to try to squeeze our washer and dryer into the mudroom (they are in the basement) but we decided not to. instead, we put in a small half bath and a pretty substantial closet. (a few project entries here and here.) the decision to put in a half bath was partially influenced by the decision to create a proper master suite on the first floor—and thus tie the full bath that already existed into the suite. we added the half bath so that guests wouldn't have to use our master bath or go upstairs—there would be a guest bath on the first floor.

the mudroom was created out of the former dining room, which had a large french door to the back of the house. (i forgot to mention that the house used to have a gross "porch" on the back, which we ripped right down last spring.) so we don't have a formal dining room anymore, BUT we have a much larger kitchen and dining area (we expanded the kitchen a few feet into the former dining room space). again, so happy with the decision.

i was concerned about the fact that we were stopping the "flow" of the first level by blocking off the living room. the living spaces on the first level used to be a full circle, but the living room is now closed off by itself. it has turned out great, though, because the living room has more wall space for furniture, etc. it hasn't been a problem so far.

so i think that's pretty much it! oh yeah, you might notice that we did away with the closets that used to exist as part of the eat-in area/bedroom #2. this expanded the kitchen by about two feet. every bit counts! bedroom #2 is now without a closet, but that's okay. it's going to be part of the master suite. more details on that later.

thanks everyone for the encouraging facebook messages and emails! i'm glad to see people are interested in what we've been doing. we are thankful for the opportunity, the means, and the physical ability to tackle this project.

well, both REAL SIMPLE and this old house came in the mail today, so i'm going to put on my jams and hop into bed for some reading. goodnight!

a random post

this post doesn't have a topic sentence. just some random pics of the house from the last few weeks.

here's the new mudroom/closet/half bath from the kitchen. on the left, you can see where the closet is framed in. on the right will be a *very* tight half bath.

and perhaps the most exciting part of all...access from the garage to the house! we think it will be well worth the sacrifice of the formal dining room. now we just need a doorknob.


here's the lovely miss beth modeling where our new john will go. i love calling it a john. so funny. i hope it's not crude? (and the falling-down duct tape represents where the window will be.)

here's a shot of our basement kitchen-cave. as you can see, we have a range set up. and a table. the other side has a fridge and microwave. there's a little pantry area, too. it'll work for now. the lights usually flicker while we eat, casting a romantic glow that could be mistaken for candlelight. very dharma initiative.


and here's a shot of me and my twin, mrs. mary jane hanson. love you mom!


and a shout out to my sister, who turns 22 today. signing out!

out with the old walls, in with the new!

sometimes it feels as if the tear-down has gone slowly, but then i remember that it has been just a little over two weeks since we closed on the house. we really have made a lot of progress!

this wall came down. it was the wall between the kitchen and the formal dining room with the strangely low built-in. we learned that taking down soffits is a real stinker.

and so did the ceiling. taking off drywall took me forever, but bert just got it started with the saw and tore it down with his bare hands.
we also knocked out a closet on the south end of the kitchen to expand the space. we'll have to reroute some heating and draining elements, but it will buy us about two feet. i'm dreaming of a cozy banquette (with storage beneath!) that would run the entire length of the wall with an oval table pulled up to it...but i am getting way ahead of myself. we need walls first.
we pretty much finished the demolition phase last week, so on saturday, ben and klaas started framing out the walls. here's the workshop, aka our living room.
we also ripped out the french doors that lead out to the back porch. this area will eventually be a mudroom with a half bath. i'm so glad we got it closed up - we had the carpets cleaned this week, and they took a while to dry because we couldn't get the house above 5o degrees! thankfully, the weather on saturday was beautiful and the house warmed right up.

we also framed out the entrance from the former dining room to the living room. this was kind of a point of controversy, because it closes up the flow of the layout...but we pretty much had to choose between a doorway and more cabinet/counter space in the kitchen. we chose the space in the kitchen. hopefully, this won't be a decision we come to regret!

we've been using a program to sketch out our designs for the house. if i can figure out how to upload them, i'll put them up here so you can all envision the final layout!

also, a note about the orange chair in the picture above: someone in our condo gave this to us for free, and it has come in handy for a place to sit because we don't care if it gets dusty. it is known as the "jacob chair " (a LOST reference). one of the first nights we were working on the house, i went into the back bedroom and the only thing in the room was the chair, facing the wall. it was creepy and reminded me of the scene with jacob in the cabin.