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Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 | 6 comments

A Restored 1920s Bungalow Goes off the Grid

A Restored 1920s Bungalow Goes off the Grid

You know when you see a house and beyond all reason, you want it with all of your heart? Sherrie had the very same yearning 18 years ago when she saw what she called “a neighborhood eye sore” in Del Ray — an uninhabited 1926 Del Ray bungalow that had been on and off the market, on triple lots of untended gardens. Sherrie walked by it with her friend who had just moved to the area, looked in and fell in love with an arch between two rooms. “It called to me,” she says. The 1920s bungalow style reminded her of the home she had grown up in the Shenandoah Valley. Sherrie came again with an agent whom she says “fled in horror.” Another friend who was very skilled in DIY home renovations said it had good bones and told her she’d help her fix it up. And so Sherrie bought it, against the advice of everyone except for her DIY hobbyist friend, Leslie. After a lengthy debate on which room was...

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Posted by on Aug 24, 2011 | 12 comments

House Tour: Katie and Zack’s Rental Retreat

House Tour: Katie and Zack’s Rental Retreat

For our inaugural house tour, Leslie and I visited a neighbor’s house (also named Katie) and were completely blown away with all the DIY and creativity nestled into the less than 1,000 square-foot home. Katie is incredibly crafty and she has found a way to decorate her home (which she doesn’t even own) in a cost-conscious and stylish way. Katie’s motto: “I won’t buy it if I can make it myself.” And when she does buy furniture/accessories, she definitely shops around for bargains — yard sales, Craig’s List, Freecycle, thrift stores — but you wouldn’t know they were second hand by looking at them because Katie has done an amazing job refreshing and repurposing all her finds. Katie and Zack have rented their rowhouse for the past two years. They asked their landlord if they could paint and fix up the house (even if they put it back to its original condition once they move out), but their landlord said no. Undeterred, they have made the most out of...

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Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 | 3 comments

Soulful and Spacious – A DIY Kitchen from Start to Finish

Soulful and Spacious – A DIY Kitchen from Start to Finish

Elin and Peter’s breathtakingly gorgeous kitchen remodel in their Del Ray rowhouse is all the more impressive for the fact that they did practically all of it themselves. They obtained the permits, construction plan, design drawings, and contractor licenses from their vendors. They researched and purchased all of the resources. Peter did all of the demolition and the heavy labor in general. They had hands-on help from one of Elin’s friends and worked side by side with a handyman, who essentially provided the tools and oversaw their work. The only work they contracted out was the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. A glimpse of the stunning end result, before getting into the nitty gritty. Their Inspiration Elin and Peter wanted an open plan and the kitchen space to be connected to the living area, as well as seamless in terms of style and color. They entertain a lot and wanted to prep and cook while socializing. They wanted bar seating in the kitchen, as well as a formal dining option. And...

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Finding Inspiration in Small-Space Design Books

Finding Inspiration in Small-Space Design Books

My guilty pleasure is to page through beautifully designed home décor books with gorgeous photographs and gaze at the photos and read the captions. I often scan the rows of home renovation and décor books at our local Alexandria City library branch in Del Ray. I return again and again to some favorites on small-space living. These are a few of my current favorite titles for design inspiration. You’ll see that my style leans toward the contemporary although my own home would probably be described as eclectic – some vintage, some modern. Family Living by Judith Wilson When I spend time with this book, I’m reminded of the constant need to declutter and simplify. As with many books like these, the examples are homes that went through a complete remodel to open the space, maximize light, and create innovate storage, as well as cool ways of displaying books and personal mementos or collections. But I also find inspiration for my as-is house.  And it’s fun to dream (plan) for...

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Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 | 8 comments

Kitchen Renovation: Best Decision I Ever Made!

Kitchen Renovation: Best Decision I Ever Made!

Soon I think you’ll start to see a theme with my posts.  We have literally been spending the past 4 years slooooowly renovating our whole house.  When we moved in it was bare bones, no one had lived there for quite a while and there weren’t any working appliances.  Though I would have like the kitchen to be our first project, we were young, had just bought our first house and were pregnant.  We decided instead to finish our basement and turn it into a rec room and do some other repairs around the house.  My husband promised me we would renovate the kitchen the next summer. Well, two years passed and FINALLY we found a contractor who told us he could tear down the wall between our kitchen and dining room and remove the ducts for a budget well below what ALL the other contractors had given us quotes for.  So we left for a week and a half that summer while they tore apart our kitchen and...

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