When I last visited Chris and Mary a few weeks ago, they had a long list of projects to complete before moving in to their Del Ray fixer upper. Some updates were cosmetic, but others were more urgent repairs. Did they get all the work done? I went back this week to check out their progress.
On my last visit, the electrician was installing ceiling fans and new light fixtures on the front porch.
Today, the fans are up and running, circulating a cool breeze on those lingering warm autumn days. I like how they selected a dark-colored fan to blend in with the ceiling. Hardly noticeable as you walk up to the house.
The porch swing that Mary found on Craig’s list is also open for business. Some outdoor pillows add to the charm and make this one of their favorite spots in the house.
I mean, really, who can resist a porch swing?
Inside, the bathroom was one of the major make-or-break projects. The floor was rotten and moldy and overall the room hadn’t been updated. I ran into Mary on the soccer field the day of the move and the toilet still hadn’t been installed. But all systems were a go by the end of the day.
During their week-long renovation, they gutted the bathroom and installed all new flooring, tiles, and fixtures.
The sink, vanity and mirror are from the Allen + Roth collection at Lowe’s. Mary has used a bunch of Allen + Roth pieces in the house. She says, “Think Pottery Barn style with a much lower price tag.”
The floor tile and accent tiles in the tub come from Architectural Ceramics in Old Town. The small 3 x 6 subway tile is from Dal-Tile.
You’ll see the colors in the accent tiles in the tub — beige, brown and gray — echoed throughout the house.
There’s also a handy built-in cabinet for storing toiletries and bathroom supplies (below left). On the other side of the wall, you’ll find a cabinet for linens and towels (below right). Apparently this cabinet used to be a laundry shoot — Chris is campaigning to return it to its original purpose.
Chris and Mary wanted to make sure the kids’ room were set up at the time of the move. Their son’s room was a mess and had been used as storage during the renovations.
But now it’s clean, organized, and personalized for their favorite sports fanatic. They painted the walls a light grayish beige (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172) and installed wall-to-wall carpeting (from Arlandria Floors in Del Ray). The wall opposite the bed has been painted a dark charcoal gray and will eventually feature a Michael Jordan mural.
After spotting a vintage light fixture on this tour, Mary was inspired to keep the original ceiling lamp in her son’s room. You’ll notice well-maintained vintage accents throughout this home.
Their daughter’s room is also quite large with lots of room to grow. Pull out drawers on the IKEA ODDA bed provide extra storage. Previously, Mary decorated the drawers with paper and mod podge.
Alora picked out this darling chandelier herself.
Her grandmother is fixing up a desk which will eventually go in this nook under the wall shelves.
The dark gray color in the bathroom tile can be found on the fireplace in the living room. It’s Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray HC-168. You’ll have to be patient about seeing the rest of the room — it’s still a work in progress, but take my word for it, it’s quite nice.
In my last post, I shared this photo of the dining room, coated in dust and cluttered with construction supplies.
Now it’s a crisp and spacious room for meals or family game night. Like the fireplace, the walls are also Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray HC-168 but at 30%.
There was no ceiling light when they moved in, so they installed this modern, rustic chandelier with etched glass shades.
Dimmy the cat enjoys her meals on this window shelf over the radiator, left from the previous owner.
As I stated in the previous post, the kitchen will stay as-is for now. There are plans to put an addition on the back of the house so they don’t want to spend money on temporary improvements. They have made some cosmetic changes to spruce up the room, such as these peel and stick tiles on the kitchen floor. It already makes a big difference and was incredibly easy to do (even her 5-year-old daughter helped out).
The unfinished attic was another major pre move-in project. Here it was days before move-in.
Enhanced by central air throughout the house, drywall, carpeting, and built-in shelves and cabinets, it’s now a cool and quiet workspace. The ceiling may look low, but there’s plenty of clearance down the middle.
The built-in cabinets extend the entire length of the room with a custom railing at the end. Like their son’s room, the carpet comes from Arlandria Floors.
Tucked off to the side you’ll find recessed bookcases. Soon enough they’ll be filled with books to create a private reading corner.
What I would have done as a kid to have a secret hideaway like this. When Chris and Mary realized there was extra unused space in the attic, they asked the carpenters to reserve this nook for the kids. It’s carpeted and drywalled, and could be used for storage when the kids get older.
The attic leads to the third bedroom (another reason to finish it off). The entire back wall is windows and if you’re a morning person, you’ll love the warm sunlight welcoming you to a new day.
Outside, you may also remember how the stairs were treacherous. They got a much-needed safety fix.
The kids were super excited to show me their tree house. Chris helped them install the stairs.
The rule is: If you can climb up, you are big enough to play in it. Wish and Alora watched on as little Calvin tried to join them. He might need a little more time.
Aside from decorating and a few finishing touches, there are two remaining upcoming projects: water proofing the basement and repairing the front porch (it’s stable, but needs a more permanent fix). They would also like to take the siding off the front and paint the house for improved curb appeal.
During a final construction inspection last week, Mary learned that their house is the Elsmore model from the Sears Roebuck and Co. Catalog. The inspector, who lives in a Sears mail-order home in Del Ray, showed her the original catalog from the 1920s.
Look at their house compared to the catalog — a perfect replica! Outstanding!
Chris and Mary’s house was designed using the Sears plans, but lumber and supplies were purchased separately. Back in the day, you could order just the plans for $1 or you could order the plans and the kit for about $2000 (delivered by train). Homes made with the Sears-shipped materials will have the Sears stamp imprinted on the wood, which theirs does not.
But still, what a fascinating piece of Americana and an amazing testament to the DIY way of life. The catalog promised “Refinement and Comfort Here,” and without a doubt Chris and Mary are well on their way to fulfilling that dream.
We’ll give Chris and Mary a little more time to get settled and we’ll be back with one final update on the progress creating their Del Ray Dream House. It’s coming along quite nicely, don’t you think?