The upstairs hall.

So! An actual post about house progress! Here goes…

When we bought our place, it was fairly obvious that the previous owner had bought it in an attempt to flip it and had made “improvements” (I use that term loosely) using the absolute cheapest materials possible. To wit, our upstairs doors were the cheapest plastic molded hollow core doors ever made. With the cheapest, ugliest brass and mismatched hardware ever made.

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They weren’t ever painted, and were pretty filthy, but somehow that wasn’t motivation enough to do anything about it for the last three years. I guess that’s not really true – we did buy salvaged wood doors (like the ones on the first floor) but then they sat in the basement while we did other stuff; like rounds of infertility treatment and thankfully had two kids.

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ewww, ugly door to our bedroom.

 

Thankfully we have Sean the carpenter who trimmed and scraped and painted and trimmed some more until all the salvaged doors fit where they needed to. It was no easy task – a couple of the slabs we picked were warped (oops) and since pretty much everything in this house is crooked anyway, it was quite a challenge to get them to fit. He persevered, and I’m so glad. New (to us) wood doors make all the difference.

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The upstairs hall is very short, so I took this pic with my back pressed against the railing over the stairs.

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Here’s the bathroom door that had to be trimmed just enough that the new knob wouldn’t fit without a little trickery from Sean. He was able to add in a piece of wood so that there was enough depth for the latch mechanism.

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I actually kind of like the way it looks – a happy accident. We used the same door hardware as downstairs, but only put a locking one on the bathroom door (once, while babysitting, a sassy toddler locked me out of her room while her infant sister was inside and I practically had to take the door off the hinge to get in, so, no locking bedroom doors for kiddos in this house.)

The doors will probably need a bit of adjusting as we move into the more humid summer months, but I’m so happy with how they turned out. Just the tactile sensation of opening a heavy wood door instead of a flimsy plastic one is pretty satisfying. Here’s the new light fixture over the stairs.

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It’s from Restoration Hardware. It replaces the ugly stained glass fixture that I showed here. The roman shade is from Pottery Barn. I originally ordered 3 of them for our bedroom, but since they have a blackout liner they felt a little too heavy. I kept the one I had opened and it works perfectly here. It’s open all day and only gets pulled down when we are going to bed and don’t want to see our neighbors security lights.

I really intended to get this post up sooner but I’ve been waylaid by a terrible case of mastitis this week. Thank god for on-call docs, 24 hour pharmacies, and antibiotics. I’ll have another post up about the stairway soon – it’s looking really good, but just needs a few more things before it’s complete.

xx-H

It’s all in the details.

But first, a weather update. It’s hard not to feel like nature is playing a joke on you when the radar looks like this.

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That wee blue snowstorm was hovering directly over us yesterday and we woke up to another dusting this morning. Even the most affable among us are being dragged down by the constant cold and snow. It’s a little nerve wracking getting around all the ice when I’m so tippy, but I’ll hold fast to the idea that this baby will be born in spring time. 4 more weeks!

Our contractor Sean has been working hard to wrap up a few things in the meanwhile. First on our list was replacing the rest of the baseboards and door trim on the first floor, in the kitchen and dining room.

Here’s a before pic, from when we mostly redid the kitchen in 2012. You can see the skinny baseboard, and undersized door trim on the pantry and sliding door to the powder room.

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Sean carefully removed the old trim

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Then he installed the new trim and beefed up the door casings.

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Sorry, grainy iphone pics. You can see the little closet door here too. Lots of doors in a small space!

Here are the afters – you can see that beefing up the door trim brought the line of the pantry door up to the same height as the cabinet above the fridge (which needs to be leveled).

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I like the plinth blocks at the foot of the doors. They just make everything feel really solid.

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This little closet door was red in another life and sat primed and pinkish with no hardware here for 2 years until Sean actually gave it the paint job it deserved.

So, those are some little details that have changed around here. It’s amazing how removing the little eyesores around our house have really changed my impression of our space. When we first moved in, all the doors were plastic hollow core and had shiny brass hardware. These 2 panel solid wood doors were salvaged from houses all over Chicago and the North Shore – some of them are probably one hundred or more years old, just like our house. It feels so good to bring it back the simple, high quality details that it deserves. If you’re local, we’ve had great luck with salvaged doors at the Rebuilding Exchange in the city and even closer at Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse.

Next on our list – finishing the stairway bannister and replacing the doors on the second floor. We are also planning to gussy up the powder room a little bit – hopefully before this baby makes his arrival! His nursery is almost ready to share, just waiting on one more piece of artwork.

Hope you all are well,

xx-H

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