Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Yesterday I mentioned a few ways I'm plotting to convert the feel of my commercial, cookie-cutter house into a timeless, cozy cottage. And naturally I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, which I was mulling over last night (I do think about design while laying in bed. Is that weird?). These ideas are ones I have actually implemented in our home ("I" meaning my husband--the one with the carpentry skills and knowledge of power tools).
Adding french doors. It is such a simple thing, really, to replace a sliding door or a window with french doors (simple as in "I couldn't do it, but I know someone who I live with that can"). Something about their openness provokes a sense of the breezy outdoors.
We (again, "we" meaning my husband) replaced one window in our bedroom with french doors and I can't describe the difference it made. It transformed the room, and is one of my favorite features of our home. And compared to other home improvement projects (think granite counters and wood floors), the cost of french doors is downright cheap!
Another project I tackled (this time "I" really means me) was to replace the large, wall-to-wall commercial mirrors in my bathrooms (like the one above) with smaller, framed versions.
To do this I got to use a sledgehammer. And yes, it was messy. And yes, I did knock a couple holes in the wall. Incidentally, I'm quite good at patching and spackle....
Of course, apparently I'm doomed to have bad luck for the rest of my life for breaking mirrors. I never said design wasn't risky.
Finally, you can add a window seat to just about any room you choose. All you need is some wood, a handy carpenter, and some cushions. Ours, added beneath the bay window in our living room, provides great seating. And, per my husband's request and design, it is removable so that we can put the Christmas tree up each winter. It also includes a good deal of storage, which I'm sure will come in handy someday when I want to clear the room of neon plastic toys!
Don't think you have to have a bay window for a window seat, though. Like the one shown above, they can be constructed under conventional windows as well, and are a slim alternative to sofas.
One of the main reasons I like these "patina projects" is that they deviate from the normal upgrades that homeowners often choose. Yes, I'd love to have marble counters in my kitchen (perfect for rolling out dough for my pie crusts!), wood flooring (someday...), and a remodeled bathroom, but those projects cost A Lot of money. Furthermore, though they certainly add value to a home in a conventional sense, they don't elevate the "cozy quotient" any more than the projects I've listed here. And because these patina projects are unexpected additions uncommon to stock homes, they create an ambiance that invites guests to relax and stay awhile. And though not free, they are remarkably affordable if you can lasso a handyman/handywoman into helping you.
Let me know if you are embarking on any "patina projects" of your own! I'd love to hear (and see photos) about them! Post your comments below and/or upload your photos to Retro Summer's Flickr page!
Previous Related Posts:
From Cookie-Cutter to Custom
Adding Patina, so to speak
A Long Time Coming
Before & After (part 2)