Thursday, January 3, 2008

Before & After

One of my guests on New Year's Eve is an incredibly gifted painter and interior design person. Over the last few years he's helped me slowly convert my house from the poster child of 70's bad taste to something livable. I've lived in my house for about 12 years and each year I've taken on a project to revamp a room or an area of the house. I wish I had taken pictures of the place when I first moved in (I'm sure I have, but they may have gone with the ex) to see just how bad it was - just try to imagine this: each room a different shade of foil wallpaper or horrid color scheme:

Foyer - Silver and white foil paper - white faux marble tile
Living Room/Dining Room - white walls with with bright orange splashes of paint and a bright orange shag rug - City of Mirrors on each wall and sparkly popcorn ceilings
Kitchen - Black walnut cabinets, lime green counters and hardware, silver, white, lemon and lime trellis foil paper
Family Room - Black walnut paneling, black and white shag rug, full wall brick fireplace
Sun Room - Beige T-11 siding for paneling, cracked beige concrete floor, dark brown structural beams, gorgeous cherry tongue and groove ceiling (yeah- what gives with that??)
Powder Room (our personal favorite) - Red, white and blue plaid wallpaper - not tartan, but squiggly, designed on acid plaid. On the walls, the door and the ceiling. Blood red sink and medicine cabinet frame. We called it the behavior modification room. When my son would play in the basement, he would run up two flights of stairs just to avoid the powder room.

The upstairs was even worse, but I won't frighten any more small children with the descriptions of those rooms. When I first stepped into the house, I turned around immediately to leave, but the ex pulled me in claiming it was such a great deal that "we could fix it up" - great idea, but we, uh, divorced six months later. Still, it's been fun and a challenge to turn the house into something that I am proud of. There are plenty of projects left - landscaping, a patio, etc., but I look forward to them all. I want to take a minute to show pictures of the wonderful work that Gary (of Mather & Smith Designs - serving the NY/NJ/PA/DE/VA area) does:
Before - we at least covered the black walnut paneling:


During – Gary devised a method to cover the paneling with custom wall paper that he painted and then tore and placed on the wall to look like stone – he also decided to lighten everything up by paining the brick and all of the paneling. Taking down the ceiling would have been a nightmare – it went up in the 70’s so I would have to have a specialist take it down, so we decided to paint it a complementary color to the walls. Here are the progress shots:

Look at the difference in the ceiling!

And now, the final version – at Christmas – still have a few odds and ends, but what an improvement!

This is one of the other rooms Gary did for me – the old sun room that was in such bad shape we only used it for storage. I had two of the sliders removed – replaced the other four, added a fireplace for heat and laid laminate flooring. The ceiling and the stained glass window were original, everything else was a redo. From eyesore, to everyone’s favorite room in the house:

Think it’s time to put the Christmas stuff away….;-)

BTW - he also turned the behavior modification room into a beautiful Tuscan powder room - for a while, it was the nicest room in the house!

If you're interested in finding out more, visit their site here:

I'm not big on endorsing, but Gary's worth it. He's reliable, he's talented as hell and you'd have an end product that you would love for years


Mom on the Run said...

I live in a 1964 house, and every renovation is like an archeological dig. We still have some narly bathrooms, but after ten years we're slowly bringing her into this's fun, but not so fun, too.

Everything looks great!

Cindy said...

Thanks for the visit to my blog!

Your house re-do looks great! We're really lucky: our house was built in the late 1940s before things got really funky. Most of the tile and fixtures I absolutely love, which is good since we can't afford to do much anyway!

I'll be back to visit!